Major flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone (TC) Josie led to the death of five people and inundated countless properties and agricultural lots along the Western coast of Viti Levu, the country’s largest island over the Easter long weekend.
Central business districts in Sigatoka, Nadi- home to Fiji’s international airport- Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki were also affected by torrential rain, with commercial properties flooded and shut off to the public for several days.
“The flood damage in town was less than 2009 experience but certain areas suffered substantial damage,” said Dr Ram Raju, the President of the Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Nadi’s back road and the residential areas of Nawaka, Navo and parts of Martintar also went underwater, forcing families into evacuation centres and the temporary suspension of class for primary and secondary students.
“The Nadi Back Rd near J Kevi property was perhaps the hardest hit including True Blue Light Hotel,” Dr Raju added.
Water and electricity were also cut off to many parts, though the Water Authority of Fiji and Fiji Electricity Authority have worked to restore supply.
The Ministry for Education also closed all schools in Ba, Rakiraki, Tavua and Nadi areas for several days to carry out full damage assessments.
Water levels in most parts receded on April 2, after closing off 27 roads in the Central division, seven roads in the Northern division and 40 in the Western division.
TC Josie was rated as a Category 1 and Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainmarama said he had requested the Fiji National Provident Fund to assist those affected by the natural disaster.
The FNPF has since confirmed that members living in flood-affected areas in the Western division will be able to access up to FJD $1000 under the Natural Disaster Withdrawal Scheme, which will be deducted from the member’s General Account eligibility. The Fund will also waive processing feeds for these withdrawals.
FNFP Chief Executive Officer, Jioji Koroi said their officers are being deployed to flood-affected area and will liaise closely with the Commissioner Western’s Office in assisting members.
Application forms, however, are being distributed by FNPF inspectors and won’t be issued from general offices or agencies.
“Members will be required to show proof of residence by providing their utility bills or through verification by delegated government officials. They must also provide a recent bank statement as all payments will be made to their personal bank accounts. These documents will assist in the withdrawal application process and members are requested to ensure they provide the required documents to the FNPF teams.”
Koroi emphasised the provision of assistance to members after the declaration of a natural disaster, as per the FNPF Act 2011.
“Members have always appreciated FNPF’s response during times of disaster because it allows them to cater for their immediate needs. Like other key disaster response organizations, we carry out our assessments before deciding on the type of assistance to provide to members.”
FNPF members can also access housing withdrawal assistance under current approved grounds if more funds for rehabilitation works are needed.
“The $1000 is for immediate relief. We understand that some members will need more than $1000 for their repairs. The housing withdrawal assistance is also available to our members should they need to access more funds. We also have the Quick Repair Assistance in which members can access up to $5000 for repair works.”
Proper counselling is also being provided as part of their assistance process.