Frustrated holiday-makers have been given the all-clear to rebook flights to Fiji after mass cancellations following Tropical Cyclone Sarai, which claimed two lives.
Frustrated holiday-makers have been given the green light to rebook flights to Fiji after mass cancellations.
More than 130 Fiji Airways flights were cancelled for 48 hours due to a tropical cyclone raging over the South Pacific nation.
Seventy-one flights to and from Fiji – including from Australian capital cities to Nadi – on Saturday on Fiji Airways and Fiji Link were cancelled due to the category two cyclone.
Flights impacted include those flying between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. That’s after more than 60 flights were cancelled on Friday.
Other airlines, including Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia delayed or cancelled flights on Saturday.
“Following weather assessments, and forecast adverse conditions associated with Tropical Cyclone Sarai, a number of Fiji Link and Fiji Airways services for Friday 27 December 2019 and Saturday 28 December 2019, are affected,” the Fijian carrier’s website states.
“Fiji Airways apologises for any inconvenience caused to travel plans of, and reiterates that safety is always the airline’s highest priority.” Australian authorities had warned travellers that the cyclone was to hit on Friday:
“Tropical Cyclone Sarai is expected to make landfall in Fiji on 27 December. Anticipate high winds, flooding, and storm surges,” the SmartTraveller website stated on Saturday.
“Stay in touch with friends and family, monitor local media for updates, and follow the advice of local authorities.”
Nearly 2000 people took refuge in emergency shelters, and two people were killed as Tropical Cyclone Sarai pounded Fiji with strong winds and heavy rain on Saturday causing widespread damage.
Vasiti Soko, director of Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), told reporters on Saturday that an 18-year-old student drowned after being swept away by strong currents while swimming in waters on the southern island of Kadavu.
The body of a man in his 40s was found by villagers in Naitasiri province, on Fiji’s main island Viti Levu.
Ms Soko urged locals and the thousands of tourists in Fiji not to be reckless as Sarai lashed the Pacific island nation with heavy rain and destructive winds.
With wind gusts strengthening to 150 kilometres per hour during the day, Sarai destroyed houses and crops, brought down trees, cut power and caused considerable flooding in low-lying areas.
Thousands of holidaymakers were stranded with flights to and from Fiji either cancelled or rescheduled.