Rain-soaked Fiji faces at least three more days of storms after its worst flooding in a generation killed 11 people, forced thousands to flee swamped homes and stranded foreign tourists, officials said Wednesday.
Tourists in dozens of resorts on the western edge of the South Pacific nation were warned to stay inside, and at least one major airline scheduled an extra flight to get people out.
"Stay where you are, and take extra care. That's what we're telling everyone," said Patiliai Dobui, the head of Fiji's Disaster Management Office.
Among the 11 killed was a 3-year-old boy who was swept away by flood waters, said police Supt. Erami Raibe.
Meteorological Service director Rajendra Prasad said gale force winds are forecast to batter the main islands and coastal seas later Wednesday, with fresh active rain bands expected across the main island of Viti Levu, then spreading across the entire country.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime rainfall situation," Prasad told The Associated Press.
In the town of Monasavu on Viti Levu, more than 41 inches (1,044 millimeters) of rain had fallen in the past five days, he said.
In the international tourism center of Nadi, which is on the island of Viti Levu, 38 inches (950 millimeters) of rain was recorded. Shops have been flooded and many will likely be forced out of business, local officials said.
A state of emergency continued in western Viti Levu, where the tourism industry is based. Australia's national carrier Qantas scheduled a special flight to airlift stranded tourists from Nadi to Sydney on Wednesday.
Disaster Management Office spokesman Isireli Narawa said nearly 9,000 residents were now in shelters, with thousands of homes submerged by brown floodwaters, bridges washed out and many roads cut off by water and mud.