UN/ISDR Highlights Fiji’s State of Disaster as a Result of Floods

3 February 2011: According to the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR), a 15-day state of disaster has been declared in areas on the west coast of Fiji, which have been ravaged by floods and landslides. The state of disaster applies to Ba, Lautoka, Nadi, Nadroga, Ra, and Tavua, and continued heavy rains are predicted. Nadi and Ba are participating in UN/ISDR's Making Cities Resilient Campaign.

According to UN/ISDR's subregional office, scientists are exploring evidence that climate change and developments in low-lying flood-prone areas are contributing factors in the floods. The recent UN/ISDR and UN Development Programme (UNDP) publication titled “Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific: an Institutional and Policy Analysis,” predicts more frequent high intensity floods in the western part of Fiji. These events used to occur every 190 years, but by 2100 are predicted to occur every 25 years.

Viliame Naupoto, Fiji Forestry Permanent Secretary, called for revising “our forest code of harvesting practices, see if it is being followed properly,” and for determining the possible contributory role of forestry activities. [UN/ISDR Press Release]