Deadly cyclone batters Fiji, sparks flooding | News | DW | 01.02.2021
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Deadly cyclone batters Fiji, sparks flooding

Cylone Ana caused severe flooding across the Pacific island nation, forcing around 10,000 people to evacuate. The country's leader blamed climate change for the storm — the second to hit Fiji in as many months.

Trees blown down over the road in the storm

Tropical Cyclone Ana has caused extensive damage to the South Pacific island nation

A 49-year-old man drowned and five are missing after Cyclone Ana struck Fiji, the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) said Monday.

Authorities said more than 10,000 people were sheltering at 300 evacuation centers.

The cyclone, a Category 2 storm, made landfall on the Pacific archipelago on Sunday with wind speeds of up to 140 kilometers an hour (87 miles per hour) and heavy rain.

It caused floods, including on the main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu and in the capital city, Suva.

The NDMO identified the missing as four fishermen and a toddler.

Local media reports said a 3-year-old boy went missing when he accompanied his grandfather to check their boat, which was stuck in mangrove plants.

Fallen branches in the street following the landfall of tropical Cyclone Ana in Suva

There was flooding across the island nation, including in the capital, Suva

River bursts its banks

Office Director Vasiti Soko said a river near Suva unexpectedly burst it banks and crews needed to rescue villagers from their homes.

She said there was severe flooding on the other main island of Vanua Levu and it was getting more rain as another storm passed through.

"But in Suva, the sun is out again, the water is going down and the evacuees are returning," she said.

On Monday, schools remained closed but other civil servants were told to head to work unless they had been directly affected by the cyclone.

Watch video 03:04

How climate change is affecting people in Fiji

Is climate change to blame?

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama pointed to climate change as a cause of recent deadly storms.

"Today, my priority is on Fijians' safety — but the rest of the world needs to wake up and reckon with why this is happening," Bainimarama wrote on Twitter.

It is the second storm to hit Fiji within two months. In December, the more powerful Cyclone Yasa struck, killing four people, with a fifth person listed as missing.

kmm/nm (AFP, AP)