Fiji – PM Warns of Constant Threat of Extreme Weather Events as Storm Josie Death Toll Rises

After the death and destruction caused by Tropical Cyclone Josie, the Prime Minister of Fiji warned of the constant threat of extreme weather events facing Fiji as a result of climate change.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office said that the number of deaths from the storm had increased to six.

Almost 2,300 people were still displaced, staying in 40 evacuation centres. Food and relief supplies are being distributed and clean-up operations have begun. Many roads have been re-opened and water and electricity supply restored. Government ministries have started to carry out initial damage assessments.

Meanwhile Fiji Meteorological Service has warned of further heavy rain and potential flooding, particularly in the north.

Constant Threat of Extreme Weather Events

Speaking at an event to launch a climate change virtual reality project in Suva, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said “we are now at an almost constant level of threat from these extreme weather events, that are becoming more frequent and more severe because of climate change.

“And while as a nation, we are striving to build our resilience and adapt to the frightening new era that is upon us, Fiji is also doing what it can to address the root cause of these events through our leadership of the global climate negotiations, COP23.”

NASA Examines Rainfall from Cyclone Josie

NASA calculated the rainfall that Josie left in its wake as it moved south of Fiji and began weakening.

At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland a rainfall accumulation analysis was created using Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) data.

The IMERG analysis showed the locations of rainfall during the period from March 26 to April 2, 2018. During this period tropical cyclone Josie formed and passed by close to the southwest of Fiji and then to the southeast. IMERG data indicated that rainfall totals of greater than 250 mm (9.8 inches) occurred over large parts of Fiji. IMERG also indicated that tropical cyclone Josie produced extreme rainfall totals greater than 450 mm (17.7 inches) in some areas along the storm’s track.

This rainfall analysis covers March 26-April 2, 2018. During this period tropical cyclone Josie formed and passed by close to the southwest of Fiji and then to the southeast. IMERG data indicated that rainfall totals of greater than 250 mm (9.8 inches) occurred over large parts of Fiji and extreme rainfall totals greater than 450 mm (17.7 inches) in some areas along the storm’s track. Credits: NASA/JAXA, Hal Pierce

More Flooding Possible

Fiji’s met office warned that a trough of low pressure continues to affect the Fiji islands, and the Northern Division with nearby islands has been issued a heavy rain warning. A Flood Alert has also been issued to major rivers of Vanua Levu and Taveuni.

Photos of Damage Caused by Tropical Cyclone Josie

Below is a selection of photos showing some of the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Josie in Fiji, as apart of a visit made by the Prime Minister to affected areas in Western Division.

Damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Josie in Fiji, April 2018. Photo: Government of Fiji
The Prime Minister assess the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Josie in Fiji, April 2018. Photo: Government of Fiji
Damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Josie in Fiji, April 2018. Photo: Government of Fiji
The Prime Minister assess the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Josie in Fiji, April 2018. Photo: Government of Fiji
The Prime Minister assess the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Josie in Fiji, April 2018. Photo: Government of Fiji