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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 April, 2004, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Fiji mops up after deadly storms
Storm damage in Fiji (archive)
There are fears the storms could hurt Fiji's sugar-cane crop
Seven people have died and hundreds have lost their homes in Fiji after severe storms, officials say.

Torrential rains lashed Viti Levu, the main island in the Fijian archipelago in the South Pacific for three days.

Nine people are still missing. In one of the worst incidents, five people died when their bus was swept away by a landslide.

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase is touring the worst-hit areas and French airplanes are helping relief efforts.

Cane concerns

France was the first foreign state to offer assistance to Fiji, sending naval aircraft from the nearby islands of New Caledonia taking part in efforts to locate several fishermen lost at sea.

Fijian officials said it was too early to estimate the cost of the damage caused by the storm.

Cyclone Ami, which hit Fiji in January last year, badly dented the sugar-cane harvest - a major revenue-earner for Fiji.

A spokesman for Fiji's sugar-cane growers, Mohammed Rafiq, told the AFP agency, "We see a lot of suffering on people's face because just a year ago, people could not fully recover from Cyclone Ami".

Fiji cyclone death toll rises
17 Jan 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Eleven feared dead in Fiji cyclone
16 Jan 03  |  Asia-Pacific


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