Flooding in Fijian tourist city

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 16:14 30/01/2014

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Thousands of people are being urged to head for higher ground as Fiji's tourist capital, Nadi, is hit by a severe rainstorm that is expected to last several days.

The Nadi Emergency Operation Centre says the Nadi River had broken its banks in several places and large areas of the city of 43,000 are being flooded.

High tide this afternoon is expected to worsen residents' plight.

"If you live in an area prone to flooding, please secure your belongings and move to an evacuation centre nearest to you," the centre warned this afternoon.

"Take enough rations to last the next 24 to 48 hours."

Nadi special administrator Robin Ali said the town business area was closed and people would not be allowed inside it.

Domestic flights at Nadi International Airport have been cancelled but some international flights are still operating. An Air Fiji flight to Nadi that left Auckland at 2.30pm is en route.

Nadi is the main centre for Fiji's tourism industry with dozens of major resorts on its outskirts.

The US embassy in Fiji's capital, Suva, has broadcast a warning to US citizens saying that torrential rains have "created widespread flooding in low-lying areas throughout Fiji".

"Roads may be closed or difficult to use because of downed powerlines and debris."

It warns the airport may be closed and resorts may be encountering difficulties.

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