Having temporarily closed its doors to one of its most profitable industries, tourism, after being left with no choice by the monstrous floods that have swept across the island over the last few days, Fiji has now "reopened" in time for Easter, but is some distance from recovering. Approximately 12,000 people have been forced out of their homes by recent flooding, and breaks in heavy rain are thought to be temporary, despite shopkeepers efforts to reconstruct and reopen their stores over the last few hours. International tourism had been provisionally banned from the island, with planes landing empty in the hope of picking up and excavating tourists over the last couple of days, and the authorities fearing that standing water and conditions might soon lead to the quick spread of disease. Despite the re-opening, fears are far from fading.
Of course, for visitors that means that to land in Fiji over the Easter break - one of its busiest times of year - should be done with the understanding that the recovery of the South Pacific island nation will remain the greatest priority. With the break in the rain, the local government has set about checking the sanitation systems, and handing out water purification tablets throughout the islands in the hope of preventing the spread of disease. The popular tourism spot of Nadi Township - a sugar-industry area that's also home to one of the nation's key airports - is one of the worst hit, with reporters describing the damage to the area as 'like a warzone' and recovery as an extremely long term exercise. Officials suspect that disease may already be spreading, and will focus on preventing the further spread and keeping things from reaching a crisis level.
Amongst the devastation there has been some good news, too. Crucially, Cyclone Daphne, which was expected to batter the islands alongside the flooding over the last few days, drifted out to sea and missed landfall, saving Fiji from what could have been some extremely untimely further destruction. Things have been tough over the last few months, though, with the last flood hitting less than two months ago, in January, causing eleven deaths. Most media are reporting the total so far this time at three deaths, though with disease a growing problem and the clean-up far from complete, the figures are obviously yet to be confirmed.
Australia and New Zealand, two of Fiji's nearest neighbours, are both offering substantial aid to the country, despite the two having poor political relations with Fiji due to its military dictatorship; both have emphasized that they're money is being handed to aid agencies and not the ruling elite. Thousands of tourists are thought to still be stranded, despite the increase in outgoing-only flights, and while it is now technically permissible to land and enter the country as a tourist, it seems unlikely that most will go ahead with their holidays under these circumstances. Australia - Fiji's greatest tourist contributor - is currently recommending that only essential travel to the western island including the Nadi area takes place, and advising caution in other areas. You can find further information on the flooding specifically here, and donations can be sent through The Red Cross, here.