3 dead, over 300 houses destroyed in cyclone-hit Fiji

19:18, March 22, 2010      

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Three people died, over 400 homes were destroyed and more than 400 damaged by cyclone Tomas when it swept across Fiji last week.

Early assessments from the Disaster Management Operations Officer in Fiji, Anthony Blake, indicated 376 homes have been destroyed, 423 have been damaged and up to 72 classrooms had been either damaged or destroyed.

About 45 large tents funded by the New Zealand Government which arrived in Nadi Sunday night will be used as temporary class rooms and 200 family-sized Red Cross tents will leave Auckland Monday for use by the Fiji Red Cross, the New Zealand Press Association reported on Monday.

But more than 30,000 people in Fiji are at risk of catching typhoid after the cyclone damaged fresh water supplies.

Radio New Zealand reported an estimated 30,000 people are now at risk of catching typhoid.

A state of natural disaster was declared in Fiji last week, after winds peaking at 200 kmh and massive storm surges flattened buildings, uprooted trees and forced the temporary evacuation of 17,000 people.

The northern parts of the Lau and Lomaiviti Group of islands were the worst hit, with eight meter swells pounding the islands.

More than 40 medical personnel are stationed in disaster declared areas, particularly in the Lau Group, the Fiji Health Ministry confirmed on Monday.

Fiji Health Ministry spokesman Iliesa Tora said food rations and water supply were being transported to these centers up until Sunday, and that they were keeping well.

He said medical supplies were also supplied to badly affected health centers for the continued provision of services in those areas.

Source: Xinhua
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