By Samisoni Pareti
As Tropical Cyclone Mona makes its slow track to landfall in Fiji, the island’s airline Fiji Airways says it is grounding all its domestic flights from tomorrow, save for its Nadi to Suva air shuttles.
All other domestic flights – about 13 return services -- have been cancelled for Saturday including an international flight out of Suva to neighbouring Tuvalu, on Fiji’s north.
Tuvalu sits right above TC Mona which has been making a rather slow track further south to Fiji over the past 48 hours.
Passengers who are affected by the Fiji Airways cancellations have been urged to contact the airline’s reservations centre on +679 672 0888 or +679 330 4388, or to check the flight status tab on www.fijiairways.com or on the Fiji Airways Travel app.
Inter-island ferry operators Goundar Shipping have also cancelled scheduled sailings.
The grounding of planes and boats for today and tomorrow comes as Fiji’s Meteorological Service upgrades the strength of TC Mona to Category Two which has resulted in the activation of Fiji’s National Emergency Operation Centre.
At Category Two, TC Mona is expected to pack wind strengths of 88 to 117km per hour.
“The effects of wind can cause damages to well-built framed homes which can blow away roofs, trees uprooted and branches being broken, severely damage weak structures, totally destroy shallow rooted crops, cause loose objects to fly, damage electricity lines and poles, damage water infrastructure, etc,” explains the Fiji Met Service.
National Disaster Management Office Director Anare Leweniqila says his team is now at work and will monitor the situation.
“We are also working closely with the Ministry of Education on the list of evacuation centres. So far no evacuation centre has been activated,” says Leweniqila.
“Please take heed of all the weather bulletins that has been issued by the Fiji Meteorological Services and also take necessary precautions of the advisory that has been issued on the radios and the constant update we have on our social media platforms,” he adds.