Nelson man escapes Fiji floods

MICHELLE SUTTON
Last updated 09:44 04/04/2012

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A Nelson man working in flood-ravaged Fiji was back home this morning.

Fiji expatriate John Kemp was welcomed home by his wife Jenny, of Richmond, today after leaving cyclone-ravaged Fiji on Monday.

Mr Kemp was among dozens of New Zealanders fleeing Fiji, who arrived in Auckland yesterday. He missed his flight to Nelson because of delays due to the weather.

''It's fantastic to be back, New Zealand's great,'' he said at his home.

However, he is unsure what he'll face when he returns next Sunday.

He has left his basil farm, staff and home in Nasoso village, on Fiji's main island Nadi, at the mercy of the weather.

The road to his farm was beginning to get washed away, and he had seen residents using water from their swimming pools because water pipes in the area had been washed away.

Last week he was trapped in his home because Nasoso became flood-locked, with no way out during the wild weather.

The affect of the cyclone and severe rain had already devastated Fiji on a similar scale to Christchurch's earthquake, he said.

''With urbanisation a lot more people live closer to the river and it's just unbelievably bad,'' he said.

Severe weather has battered Fiji' since Thursday, killing five people and causing thousands to shelter in evacuation centres across Fiji's Western Division.

Some flights out of Fiji have been cancelled due to the cyclone, but Air New Zealand has scheduled larger planes to allow people to leave.

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