Let us be prepared

Fred Wesley | Thursday, October 12, 2017
SO we can expect four to six tropical cyclones in the 2017-2018 cyclone season. That's according to the permanent secretary for Rural & Maritime Development & National Disaster Management Meleti Bainimarama.

Mr Bainimarama said of these, three to five are predicted to reach Category 3 or above status for areas covering Fiji, Southern Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Fua'amotu Archipelago and Gambia Islands. One or two tropical cyclones, he said, are predicted to pass through Fiji waters this season with at least one anticipated to reach Category 3 or above.

Director of Meteorology Ravind Kumar said the statistics collected were from 47 tropical cyclone seasons.

However, predictions, he said, are not normally going to lie within the range predicted, but there is a possibility that "we are going to see that forming in Fiji's area of responsibility, not necessarily within Fiji".

These are not things to look forward to.

However, we cannot shrug them aside.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston left bitter memories when it struck in February last year.

The impact on our economy was huge.

More than a year later, there are still many families affected by the devastation caused by Winston.

We are a nation prone to tropical cyclones. It means we are expected to be prepared.

Cyclones have not just popped out of a cupboard so to speak.

We have a cyclone season which officially starts on November 1.

It goes without saying that cyclones will not care much to stick to the period between November, 2017, and April of 2018 though.

Now what is worrying is that anything above Category 3 will surely bring back memories of the massive system that produced the Category 5 TC Winston.

That isn't a pleasant thought.

We have been warned.

Now let us take this on board and be proactive.

That means staying tuned to weather reports. Let's fix that leaking roof, sort out window shutters, trim branches, and perhaps organise awareness sessions for family members, especially the younger ones.

Cyclones have come and gone over the years. Some have almost brought us down to our knees.

But when all seemed lost, thousands of people stood up and showed great resilience to fight the negative impact of such natural disasters. The State machinery reached out to help victims around the country.

The damage to our infrastructure, the toll on villages, the physical and emotional cost on the lives of people, the impact on a number of industries that are vital to stabilising our economy were huge. But pick up the pieces, we did.

We have been warned again. Let us be prepared.

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