Fiji: ADRA Distributes Emergency Rations of Food in Wake of Floods

SILVER SPRING, Md. – Heavy rains over the South Pacific island of Fiji triggered extensive flooding during late January, taking the lives of six victims and prompting the government to declare a state of emergency for the Western Divisions of the island. An estimated 3,400 people abandoned their homes to evacuation centers as floodwaters steadily rose. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) began an immediate response, distributing emergency food rations to an estimated 2,000 households.

The rations consist of food items that can be easily prepared with minimal cooking supplies, and will feed a family of five for a two-week period. Each pack is stocked with rice, split peas, sugar, breakfast crackers, and canned tuna. Priority will be given to low-income families, elderly living alone, and families with persons with disabilities.

The torrential rains began on January 23 and lasted for two days before the waters began to recede. The Northern, Central, and Eastern Divisions of the island endured landslides, which swept away portions of roads, leading to numerous road closures and limiting mobility. Fiji’s government estimated approximately $8.6million worth of damages to the agricultural sector, $13.3 million worth of damages to roads, and $900 thousand worth of damages to educational institutions.

The Western Division of the island, however, took the brunt of the floodwater’s damages, severely affecting houses and household items, in addition to agriculture, roads, and livestock. Of the six deaths reported, two of the victims were swept away with the strong floodwaters, while a family of four was buried with their home in a landslide.

ADRA’s intervention will extend throughout the month of February, providing emergency rations of food to approximately 10,000 flood-affected victims.