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Frantic dig for family buried under landslide as Fiji flood toll rises to six

Fiji floods

People stranded at the town-end of Rakiraki in Fiji yesterday. Photo: Islands Development / Fiji Times

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Maciu Malo in Ba, Fiji

A young family in Tukaraki village in Fiji’s western town of Ba has been buried in a landslide  and the nation has declared a state of emergency as the floods death toll reached six.

Villagers and neighbouring villagers spent more than eight hours clearing up the area as they tried to recover the body of Anare Taligo, his wife, and their two children.

State officials say that at least 3500 people are now in temporary shelters in the wake of the flooding that has hit the western end of the main island of Viti Levu.

Nalotawa Village headman Moape Drikalu said it was hard to get the assistance from the government since the Moto bridge leading up to Tukuraki village was washed away by floods.

He believed though that the family was killed as they had been more than 12 hours under the landslide.

“The villagers are busy digging the area looking for the family members,” he told The Fiji Times last night. “Anare is only about over 30 and his eldest kid is about one and a half year old and the younger is just few months old.

“I think the police and other government officials are also trying to come to the site but until this afternoon (yesterday) we haven’t seen any of them.

‘Best we can’
“We are doing the best we can and it is highly unlikely that the family will survive because they have been buried for too long.”

Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said the police received reports of the accident and a team had been deployed to the site.

“All I can confirm that the landslide occurred and a couple with their two children are believed to be buried,” he said. “We haven’t heard any feedback from the team as yet.”

A release from the Ministry of Information has also confirmed it had received report that a family of four (two adults and two children) had been trapped.

Maciu Malo is a Fiji Times reporter.

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