FIJI RECOVERY WILL TAKE MONTHS
Fiji holiday resorts will be back to business shortly, but it will take months for the battered Pacific island to recover from the devastating cyclone, an aid expert says.
Red Cross international operations and emergencies manager Andrew McKie said the floods were some of the worst Fiji had suffered, but although the flood waters are receding the country is not out of danger.
Aid agencies will be scrambling to get clean drinking water to Fijians hardest hit by disaster. The immediate risk will an outbreak of water-borne diseases like typhoid - something Fiji has always been vulnerable to, McKie said.
"There's likely to be health issues with water lying around and waterborne diseases which can be very nasty." He estimated it would take months to repair homes, roads and other infrastructure.
"There's a lot of social dislocation, people's houses have been destroyed. People who are living in marginal areas are hugely affected."
However, resorts will be back up and running shortly as the country relies on the tourist dollars, he said. "Where the tourists go it will be cleaned up very quickly, but the rural areas will take longer."
McKie said the political situation was unlikely to slow-up the cleanup mission as many aid agencies, like the Red Cross, are based in Fiji and ready to help.