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Fiji Humanitarian Background

 

Disasters, Conflicts and Migration

Natural Disasters

Yes/No

Comments / Details

Drought

Yes

The areas affected by drought in Fiji are mainly the smaller islands and the Western and Northern sides of the main islands. Droughts which occur in Fiji are linked to the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and associated reductions in rainfall.

 

 

Earthquakes

Yes

Fiji is exposed to earthquakes. Those areas having the greatest earthquake activity are the Taveuni- Udu area, the south western parts of Kadavu and the northern Yasawas. The medium activity extends from the southern part of Taveuni and Vanua Levu, through Koro islands, Gau islands, Ovalau, eastern and southern Viti Levu, as far north as north-western Kadavu. The rest of Fiji is a region of relatively low earthquake activity.

Epidemics

Yes

Like many developing countries, Fiji is still undergoing an epidemiological transition and is faced with a double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Whilst there has been a decline in the incidence of some of the communicable diseases over the past 20 years such as tuberculosis and filariasis, the rise in incidence of Leptospirosis and typhoid fever in recent years is a cause for concern.

 

Extreme Temperatures

No

-

Flooding

Yes

Flooding is also a significant hazard in Fiji, usually associated with cyclone or tropical depression rainfall. Fiji is subject to both coastal and river flooding.

Rapid-Onset Floods occur within several hours of heavy rainfall, can last several days and are specific to medium-sized river catchments Flash Floods occur within a few hours of torrential rains with little or no warning and dissipate rapidly. This is the most common form of flooding in Fiji and occurs frequently

 

Insect Infestation

Yes

As for all Pacific Islands countries, pests and disease pose a huge danger to Fiji’s environment. Fiji successfully controlled a number of notorious coconut pests and some weeds by implementing bio-control programmes. The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) was established under the Biosecurity Promulgation in December 2008. BAF manages quarantine controls at borders to minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country. It also provides import and export inspection and certification to help retain Fiji’s favorable animal, plant and human health status and wide access to overseas export markets.

Mudslides

Yes

Landslides in Fiji are commonly associated with periods of heavy rainfall, especially tropical cyclone rainfall. The most concerned areas are the coastal south-east Viti Levu. Following Cyclone Wally in 1980, the most extensive landslides were recorded, when the road from Navua to Yarawa was blocked by 45 huge landslides. Landslides are also associated with earthquake activity (for example on Kadavu in 1998).

Volcanic Eruptions

Yes

Taveuni is the third-largest island in the Fiji Group, and is home to around 15 000 people. The Island is the surface expression of a large volcano, 40 km long and up to 12 km wide. Recent geological indicated that it has erupted at least 36 times since people inhabited the island.

Given the continual nature of eruptive activity on Taveuni since 9500 BC, the probability of activity within the next 100 years is high.

High Waves / Surges

Yes

Fiji has, during its history, been affected by tsunami. The likelihood of tsunami differs between locations in Fiji. Based upon the magnitudes of known tsunami, there is moderate tsunami potential in the

Central-Southeast islands of the Fiji Group (where tsunamis have been recorded with wave run-up heights of 2-4m). Coastlines in the Northwest of the group are identified as having a low tsunami potential as tsunami have either not been reported or those reported in the area have run-up heights of less than 2m.

 

 

Wildfires

Yes

Significant fire events in countryside are related to the dry season. During the dry season vegetation in the western region becomes susceptible to fire. The National Fire Authority is stationed in the major cities and some big towns. Other communities lack fire service facilities.

High Winds/TC

Yes

Fiji’s location in the South Pacific Ocean exposes the country to tropical cyclones, which are the most frequent hazard process to occur in Fiji and result in the most damage. On average, Fiji experiences 10 to 15 tropical cyclones per decade, of which 2 to 4 result in severe. Tropical cyclones in Fiji affect an average of 28,837 people per event. The most recent tropical cyclone Cat V (Winston, 2016) affected 540,000 people and killed 44. Cyclone (Ami, 2003) affected 30,000 people and killed 17.

Other Comments

 

See more information attached here

Man-Made Issues

 

Civil Strife

Yes

 

International Conflict

No

-

Internally Displaced Persons

Yes

Both disasters and climate change are causing internal displacement in many countries in the region. Although many of these people are likely to be displaced within national borders, some will have no choice but to migrate internationally. Their lives and livelihoods are linked to the Pacific Ocean; rising sea levels and other effects of global warming threaten not only their physical assets and coastal zones, but also their way of life and perhaps their national identities

Refugees Present

Yes

4 People were granted Asylum in 2016 with 20 others seeking asylum as at September 2016. (Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute in Fiji

Landmines / UXO Present

No

-

Other Comments

-

 

 

Calamities and Seasonal Affects

 

Seasonal Affects on Transport

Transport

Comments

From

Primary Road Transport

Paved and sealed road are generally OK to go through the wet season. Nevertheless, rains on the main roads could make driving a hazard. During the wet season, floods, flash floods and landslides, particularly on stretches of the highways may happen, resulting in roads, crossroads or bridges closures.

November to April

Secondary Road Transport

The secondary roads network is often not in a perfect condition and may be quickly affected by rainfalls, making it impracticable overnight. During the wet season, floods, flash floods and landslides may happen, resulting in roads, crossroads or bridges closures.

November to April

Rail Transport

No rail network exists in Fiji.

n/a

Air Transport

Generally reliable all over the year. Heavy rain falls / cyclones may impact the air transport operations, resulting in delays, flights cancellations and temporary airports/airstrips closures. The secondary airstrips on outer islands may be impracticable during the wet seasons and even if the airports/airstrips are open, the access roads may be impracticable.

November to April

Waterway Transport

Waterways transport – for both sea and rivers - may be affected during the wet / cyclonic seasons, sometimes during days.

November to April

Seasonal Affects on Storage and Handling (economic, social, climate…)

Activity

Comments

From

Storage

During the wet / cyclonic seasons, days of torrential rain may flood roads, cut power and water supplies, closing accesses to transport and storage infrastructures, impacting handling / packaging operations and making access of manpower problematic. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to forecast and anticipate those constraints.

November to April

Handling

As above

November to April

Other

As above

November to April

 

Capacity and Contacts for In-Country Emergency Response

During the latest large disaster response in Fiji during the TC Winston operation, the Fiji Government displayed all its logistical capabilities to successfully undertake a military led response. Using both their assets (vessels, and aircrafts) as well as their personnel, they implemented a 'Forward Cell', whose aim was to coordinate those assets as well as the ones provided by the neighbor militaries from Australia, New Zealand and France.

However this forward cell, while very effective, also blurred the lines as to the effective role of the NDMO in Fiji, primary focal point of the International Humanitarian Community. This resulted in some coordination complications during the response phase.

While the Government of Fiji undertook lessons learnt activities, leading to the current revision of their previous Disaster Act that should include the cluster system (between other things), it remains unclear as to the definition of roles between the NDMO and the militaries should a similar event happens tomorrow.


Government

4.1 Fiji Government Contact List

Humanitarian Community

4.2 Fiji Humanitarian Contact List