Be disaster prepared

FIJI was battering up for Tropical Cyclone Zena as we prepare to put this edition to bed, exactly 45 days after Category 5 Winston destroyed homes, villages and islands in eastern, central Fiji and the north-western regions of the main island. Most of the 30,000 that were rendered homeless by that superstorm were still living in makeshift shelters and foreign government gifted tents, when heavy rain that preceded TC Zena caused widespread flooding in towns and villages on the west, north and south coasts of Viti Levu.

If anything the extensive flooding and intensity in tropical storms confirm the extremities and unpredictability in our weather systems. In just one week, Fijian towns and cities were inundated with flood waters while the northern Pacific island nation of Palau was running low in fresh water due to a prolonged drought.

There is really nothing island governments can do to avoid natural calamities such as these, except that one ought to get its population disaster prepared and ready. Fiji did offer a novel way of assisting its cyclone ravaged population in the wake of devastation caused by TC Winston. Following a government directive, its superannuation fund waived most requirements to offer members FJD1,000 or FJD5,000 cash disbursements.

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