SUVA — Authorities in Fiji requested individuals to stay inside as a tropical typhoon weighed down on the Pacific tourist destination Wednesday, taking no chances after a recent monster storm killed 44 people.
Tropical Cyclone Zena quickly rapidly developed from a low pressure trough to an intense category three storm that was approaching the main island Vita Levu, the Fiji Meteorological Service said.
It was preceded by heavy rains that left one man confirmed dead and a teenage girl missing in flash flooding that also blocked major highways.
The latest emergency comes with the nation of 900,000 still reeling from super cyclone Winston in February, which left 44 dead, 60,000 homeless and crippled infrastructure.
“To preserve safety and public order prior to the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Zena, all members of the public are to remain indoors and secure their properties until further notice,” the government said, adding police would enforce the curfew.
Fiji Airways cancelled most international flights and schools were closed.
The cyclone, packing gusts of 170 kilometres (105 miles) per hour, is expected to brush the south coast of Vita Levu early on Thursday.
The path and intensity of such storms are hard to predict — Winston appeared to be weakening offshore at one point before roaring back as a category five cyclone with 325 kilometres an hour winds.
While Zena is not expected to match that ferocity, the UN children`s organisation UNICEF said it “could not come at a worse time for children and families in Fiji”.
“These are the same families that were directly affected by Cyclone Winston just over a month ago,” Suva-based spokeswoman Alice Clements said.
“Far too many are sheltering under tarpaulins, pieces of salvaged corrugated iron, in tents or again in evacuation centres.”
The Red Cross said volunteers were ready to distribute water purification tablets, jerry cans, and tarpaulins but had to wait for the weather to clear.
“As soon as the situation is safe, we will get out and assess the damage,” said the charity`s Viti Levu western division coordinator, Mohammed Hafiz.
“But it could be Friday, or at worst, Saturday, before this will be possible.”
The UN humanitarian agency OCHA said strong winds could bring down temporary shelters and buildings weakened by Winston, while a further 200 millimetres of rain in 24 hours would aggravate the floods.
The agency said almost 3,600 people were already sheltering in 79 evacuation centres.
NAC aims to bring more tourists
KATHMANDU — Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) — the national flag carrier which bought two wide-body aircrafts — is exploring new destinations in Europe, North America and South East Asia to bring in more tourists to the country.
The NAC, with the new destinations, expects to increase its business and carry 400,000 tourists on board the NAC planes to Nepal every year.
The NAC’s move is expected to serve largely for the government’s announcement to mark 2020 as Nepal Visit Year.
The NAC is also planning to procure narrow-body planes that would make regional flights while the wide-body planes would fly to the new international destinations.
For the new destinations, the NAC has appointed issue manager.
With the agreement, the NAC planes would make flights to 14 destinations in a week. If things go as planned, the NAC planes would fly to Narita and Tokyo in Japan, easing the tourists visiting Nepal from there.
After getting approval from Japan and South Korea for flights, the inclusion in the significant safety concern list by the EU to Nepal would remove automatically while the flights to South Korea shall open up the golden door for Nepal Airlines.
South Korea is regarded as the safest country in the world in terms of civil aviation. Likewise, the ICAO has already removed Nepal from its blacklist.
Furthermore, the NAC is preparing to operate flights to bring in tourists from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Similarly, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari has directed the NAC for announcing new business plans by targeting the Indian and Chinese tourists, realizing the crucial role of the national flag carrier to make the Nepal Visit Year 2020 a success.
“Top priority has been given to the NAC as it is the major basis to bring in tourists,” Minister Adhikari shared.
Likewise, Minister Adhikari shared that expansion of services and facilities of the Tribhuvan International Airport has been prioritized.Follow @gorkhapost