WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Oct. 7) - Fiji’s drought is worsening rapidly with rivers, creeks and wells drying up and people being forced to flee their homes in the wake of forest fires.

Over 2,000 hectares of pine forests have been burned, mostly as a result of arson attacks and spillovers from cane farm and village garden fires.

Residents living close to the fires are complaining of breathing difficulties after inhaling smoke.

Reports from many areas speak of vegetation drying up completely because of the extreme weather and livestock being in danger of dying.

Farmers say the creeks and wells they depend on for washing and drinking and watering their crops are all dry.

Small amounts of emergency water supplied by trucks in some parts has not reached remote rural areas.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s health authorities are advising people to boil all drinking water to avoid an outbreak of diarrhea and skin diseases.

October 7, 2003

Radio New Zealand International:


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