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50-Year Storm Devastates Nadi

Today, flood waters are finally subsiding in Fiji’s tourism center, Nadi, after three days of torrential rain devastated the area during the peak of tourist season.

According to Paul McCulloch, owner of the Robinson Crusoe Island resort, a cyclone passed far to the south of the Fijian islands causing no harm initially, but when the system became stationary it held a band of low pressure over the islands for three days with gale-force winds. "We normally have severe flooding once every 10 years or so, but it’s usually only flash flooding. This time we literally had buckets of rain falling for days. It’s the worst storm we’ve had in 50 years. Six thousand people are homeless and there have been at least six deaths."

Already, however, business owners and private individuals are digging out and cleaning up. McCulloch, an Aussie native who has lived in Fiji for 20 years, notes that, "Fijians are a very resiliant people. They’ll have the place put back together soon." As with the devasting tsunami that walloped Phuket in 2004, the worst thing that could happen to Fiji now is for tourists to stop coming. The already-depressed local economy needs the input of tourist dollars now, more than ever.

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