There were no reports of any casualties associated with Tropical Cyclone Keni. This has been attributed to warnings being taken seriously by Fijians.
And one good thing Fijians did yesterday was move quickly to evacuation centres before the brunt of TC Keni hit them.
In the West, from Rakiraki to Sigatoka, the Police and the Commissioner Western’s Office expressed relief that the early warnings were taken seriously by the public.
Commissioner Western Manasa Tagicakibau and Chief of Police Operations Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Maretino Qiolevu both confirmed yesterday evening that there were no confirmed reports of casualties.
But, Mr Tagicakibau said, they were following up on an unconfirmed report of a missing person in Tavua after they saw a post on social media.
As of 6pm yesterday, 5288 people had moved into 86 evacuation centres around the Western Division.
• Rakiraki: 5 evacuation centres with 186 people
• Tavua: 11 evacuation centres with 730 people
• Ba:10 evacuation centres with 480 people
• Lautoka: 17 evacuation centres with 1338 people
• Nadi: 25 evacuation centres with 2079 people
• Nadroga: 15 evacuation centres with 452 people
• Nadarivatu: 3 evacuation centres with 23 people
Mr Tagicakibau said the Queens Road was closed yesterday afternoon due to flooding at Waimalika, at Sabeto, while earlier in the afternoon, the Kings Road was closed at Matawalu village on the outskirts of Lautoka towards Ba.
He also confirmed that they had received reports of substantial flooding from Rakiraki, Tavua, Ba Town, while in Lautoka and Nadi there was some flooding in a number of areas after intermittent heavy downpours during daylight hours. However, they had to work with Police at some of the evacuation centres where children who stayed had come out to play in flood waters.
“I have advised my officials throughout the Western Division to move in at all evacuation centres tomorrow and see if people made their way to their homes as we need to clean the schools and get it ready for classes,” Mr Tagicakibau said.
“As for the rations being distributed to the evacuation centres, this will not be done until 24hours after the evacuees had been at the centre as those that are there had been advised to take food and water with them when leaving their homes.’’
Acting ACP Qiolevu said the Police department had made a number of evacuations in the Western Division, but was happy that these were done before the flood waters reached the areas concerned.
In Lautoka alone, Police evacuated some mothers and children including babies from Navutu Settlement.
He confirmed that there were some last-minute evacuations after people waited until the flood waters reached their homes.
Vehicle and public tries to cross a flooded Sabeto junction in Nadi yesterday. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA