Fiji declares a state of disaster over severe flooding

Map showing affected areas of Fiji

Fiji has declared a state of disaster over flooding and landslides that have killed at least six people and displaced thousands.

Officials say that at least 3,500 people are now in temporary shelters.

The state of disaster has been declared in the western regions of Fiji's largest island of Viti Levu, where the flooding impact is worst.

The rains, which started last weekend, inundated roads and cut water and power supplies to some communities.

The Disaster Management Office has declared the western areas of Nadi Lautoka, Ba, Sigatoka and Rakiraki to be in a state of disaster.

Permanent secretary of information Sharon Smith-Johns said a total of six people had been killed by Wednesday.

These included a family of four and a farmer on Viti Levu, and another farmer on Vanua Levu who tried to rescue livestock.

New Zealand has pledged NZ$350,000 ($286,000, £182,000) in initial flood aid to be made immediately available to the Fiji Red Cross.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully said that New Zealand was working closely with relief agencies, Australia and France.

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