Cyclone Zena to dampen Winston recovery efforts

(Fiji Government / Facebook)
(Fiji Government / Facebook)

Fiji's bracing for another powerful tropical storm, and it's feared emergency rations will be in short supply.

Just weeks after Cyclone Winston wreaked havoc, category two Cyclone Zena is expected to slam the country later today.

Over the last two days, the region has experienced widespread flooding which is set to persist. 

The body of a 70-year-old has been found, and a 19-year-old woman has been reported missing.

Two areas in Fiji which were smashed by Cyclone Winston in February, Nadi and Rakiraki, are in the firing line once again.

Cyclone Zena to dampen Winston recovery efforts

Preparation ahead of Cyclone Zena at Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa (Jody Baker)

Oxfam's Dolores Devesi is keeping a close eye on Zena's movements.

"Fiji is still recovering from Cyclone Winston therefore we are still seeking support for the public ensuring that Cyclone Zena doesn't have a disastrous effect as Winston did," she says.

"This is going to dampen the recovery efforts here. There are still a lot of needs out here and this will just exacerbate the situation on the ground."

Ms Deves is based in Suva, where there is a lot of heavy rain. She says there are media reports of flooding in the north and western divisions and it's expected to worsen overnight, as Zena hits around midnight.

"We are expecting the areas around the western and northern region. That's where a lot of the low lying areas are. They are media reports that we have already received around rivers that have burst their banks around the sugar cane areas," she says.

Jody Baker from Rakaia, south of Christchurch, is on Fiji's Denarau Island with 13 other family members to celebrate her father's 70th birthday.

She said they had two days of "absolutely stunning" weather before "pretty wild" wind and rain overnight.

"Once the winds and the rain came and we had all the flooding, we've had power outages since and [hotel staff] is concerned with the fuel for the generators, whether it will kick in for all the electricity for the hotels," she says.

The family are in the process of moving to the second floor of the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa in case it floods overnight.

Ms Baker says the resort has been in excellent communication, but she's concerned staff will be trapped for a couple of days and not able to get back to their villages.

"I take my hat off to them really, they're here trying to help us and please us with everything going on in their villages," she says.

"They're a little bit sad and a little bit upset, one gentleman says he's lost his fridge and electrical appliances."

Ms Baker says the family are hoping to fly out on Sunday.

The Fijian Government urges residents to take precautionary measures, such as securing food and water supplies at home, and torches with batteries. Schools have been closed today.

Ms Devesi says Oxfam has emergency supplies already in Fiji from the Cyclone Winston response, which can be mobilised if needed for Cyclone Zena.

Although Cyclone Zena is not expected to be as strong as Cyclone Winston, Ms Devesi says Cyclone Winston shows things can change overnight.

"Fijian people are still traumatised from Cyclone Winston and the timing of this isn't great for them, but they resilient people. They are stronger than any cyclone and they will mobilise themselves," she says.

"And now we have an example to go by in terms of our messaging and in terms of giving people enough time and warning to prepare themselves."

Cyclone Zena to dampen Winston recovery efforts

Navo Bridge outside Nadi town ( Facebook / Fijian Government)