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Tropical Cyclone Josie batters Fiji, six people dead

Staff Writer |
Six people have been killed in Fiji on Wednesday after Tropical Cyclone Josie battered the western part of South Pacific Island state of Fiji over the weekend.

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Fiji's Director for National Disaster Management Office Anare Leweniqila confirmed on Wednesday that the body of a 19-year-old man who went missing in the flood waters was found on Wednesday, bringing the total number of dead people to six.

The 19-year-old man was missing after trying to cross a flooded area over the weekend. Fijian police are still searching for a 7-year-old boy who also went missing after he had gone with his grandfather to search for crabs. His grandfather's body was found on Monday.

Josie hit western Fiji by bringing heavy rain and flooding throughout the Saturday night and Sunday. Four people were confirmed dead on Sunday night.

Meeting basic needs of the people and the restoration of essential services are the Fijian government's priorities in its emergency response to the areas affected by the recent floods.

The National Disaster Management Office through the Office of the Divisional Commissioner Western is leading government's response through coordination of key response agencies.

In the immediate aftermath of the floods, clearing debris from communities and municipalities was spearheaded by personnel from the National Fire Authority, the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, the Fiji Police Force and the Fiji Corrections Service.

Clearing of debris now makes way for the deployment of public health teams from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to conduct health assessments of evacuation centers and affected communities.

The teams are conducting health screening, general health awareness, and inspection of sanitation and hygiene conditions. Disinfection and mosquito spraying is also being carried out where required as the health officers are also monitoring food and water quality.

The Office of the Divisional Commissioner Western had begun distribution of food rations on Monday to evacuation centers, and it continues to do so to affected communities.

As of Wednesday, a total of 39 evacuation centers are active in the west with a total of 2,244 evacuees.

Teams from the Fiji Electricity Authority and the Water Authority of Fiji are working continuously to ensure the full restoration of electricity and water supply in affected communities and municipalities. Water tanks are being placed and filled in strategic accessible locations while water carting takes place simultaneously.

The Fijian government said that it was committed to ensuring that basic needs of food, water, and shelter are met.

Multi-sector teams consisting of various government agencies are on the ground conducting initial damage assessments as schools remained closed.

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