Cyclone Mal Threatens Fiji: Tourism Industry and Residents Prepare for Impact

Tropical cyclone Mal threat map as at 6am Tuesday, 14 November. Photo: Fiji Meteorological Service

Fiji is currently facing the imminent threat of Cyclone Mal, anticipated to intensify to a category three storm as it traverses the country’s western provinces. The primary concern is for Fiji’s main tourist spots, including Nadi and Suva, where destructive winds are expected overnight. Despite the impending storm, reports indicate that some Australian holidaymakers are still arriving, and flights continue to operate. Evacuations are underway in high-risk areas, with a controlled movement order in place. The Fiji Hotel Association and tourism operators have taken precautions, preparing properties for the cyclone’s impact. Although maritime travel has been paused, some tourists are still arriving on the mainland. Authorities are managing evacuation centers, with over 290 evacuees currently residing there.

Fiji’s resorts are at risk, and the Fiji Red Cross, with volunteers on standby across 16 branches, is prepared to support evacuations. The organization urges the public to take precautionary measures and stay alert, emphasizing awareness of nearby evacuation centers and their emergency contacts. In villages across the islands, rivers are swelling, and roads are being cut off. Red Cross volunteers are assisting communities in preparations, such as securing sheds and putting up shutters. Despite the challenges, Tourism Fiji’s CEO commends the coordinated response of key agencies and expresses confidence in Fiji’s ability to handle the situation. Overall, Fiji is bracing for the impact of Cyclone Mal, emphasizing the importance of community preparedness and the resilience of the tourism industry in the face of natural disasters.