Is Fiji Safe To Live?

The Fiji Islands have been inhabited since the second millennium BC. Europeans first discovered and visited Fiji in the seventeenth century. The warm, tropical climate is attractive to many people wanting to leave their homelands. Many British and Europeans have retired to the Fiji Islands. If you are thinking of moving to Fiji, one critical question is how safe it is to live in Fiji.

Fiji is a safe country to live in if you choose your residence wisely to avoid high-risk areas. It has no active volcanoes but is prone to earthquakes and infrequent tsunamis. Tropical cyclones impact Fiji. Crime levels are relatively low and non-violent. There is a higher risk of road accidents.

The Fiji Islands are a beautiful, lush place to live with warm temperatures year-round. The beaches and surrounding ocean are a paradise for those who love water recreation. Whenever you consider relocating to a country, it is wise to investigate the safety of living there. Safety is relative to everyone’s terms of reference.

Are The Volcanoes In Fiji Safe?

The Fiji Islands were formed largely through volcanic action in the South Pacific Ocean. Volcanoes are complex geological structures that may be dormant for long periods or remain active over hundreds of years.

Living on land established through volcanoes can be worrisome. Fortunately, none of the volcanoes in the Fiji islands are still active. The last eruption was from the massive Taveuni Volcano. This produced a lava flow on the southern tip of Taveuni Island sometime during the period  1450 to 1650 AD.

Volcanoes in the Fiji islands are considered inactive, and they have become tourist attractions. Previous eruptions resulted in fertile soil, allowing forests and rich vegetation to grow. Many people are intrigued by the volcanic development of Fiji and enjoy exploring the landscape. 

Although there are no active volcanoes on the land in Fiji, there are volcanic eruptions in the surrounding oceanic regions. The Lau Basin and North Fiji Basin are experiencing seafloor spreading, making the area geologically unstable.

Tonga and Vanuatu are active volcanic island arcs that affect Fiji when eruptions occur. The geological instability in these two regions results in earthquakes and tsunamis that impact the Fiji Islands.

Is There A Risk Of Future Volcano Eruptions In Fiji?

Volcanoes can be difficult to predict. Scientists initially believed that all Fiji volcanoes were inactive. While they still maintain that the volcanoes are in a dormant state, they have expressed some concern that neighboring seismic activity may cause instability along the Taveuni rift axis.

The possible site of an eruption is the southern end of the Taveuni Island, which is one of the most heavily populated areas. Taveuni is a heavily forested island, and lava flows would create uncontrollable forest fires.

Is Fiji Safe From Natural Disasters?

Fiji is situated in a seismically active region of the South Pacific. The result of this is that earthquakes are a real threat. The most recent Fiji earthquakes were two in August and September of 2018, with magnitudes of 8.2 and 7.9 on the Richter scale. In October 2019, an earthquake in the Kadavu region measured 5.7 on the Richter scale.

The August 2018 earthquake affected several hundred miles in Fiji and caused immense damage and destruction. Many buildings, houses, and infrastructures were destroyed.

The seismic and volcanic activities in surrounding areas of the South Pacific make Fiji vulnerable to tsunamis. They are less common in Fiji than in many other islands in the South Pacific. Since 1877, four tsunamis have hit Fiji, killing a total of 2005 people.

Are Tropical Cyclones Dangerous In Fiji?

Tropical cyclones, also known as hurricanes, are experienced approximately every second year during the November to April rainy season. The districts most affected by the hurricanes are Fiji’s central, northern, and western regions.

The biggest threat of tropical cyclones is flooding and damage from mudslides and collapsing ground. High winds that accompany tropical cyclones add to the destruction. Some notable cyclones have been:

  1. December 2007 Cyclone Daman with wind speeds of 125 mph (205 km/h).
  2. January 2008, Cyclone Gene hit the capital, Suva, with winds of 115 mph (185 km/h), resulting in the death of eight people.
  3. In December 2012, Cyclone Evan had tearing winds of 145 mph (230 km/h), causing massive infrastructure damage.
  4. October 2016 Cyclone Winston had wind speeds of 175 mph (280 km/h) with gusts of 196 mph (315 km/h)
  5. December 2020 Cyclone Yasa had wind speeds of 160 mph (257.4 km/h) with 45 feet waves and a 10-foot storm surge.

Tropical cyclones are a relatively frequent occurrence in Fiji, and inhabitants should take this into account.

Is Crime Bad In Fiji?

Petty crime occurs in Fiji and consists mostly of people stealing items when the opportunity presents itself. Violent crime is less than half the rate of violent crime in the USA.

Are Tropical Diseases Of Concern In Fiji?

One reason for concern if you consider moving to a tropical country is the endemic tropical diseases in these warm climates. Fiji is unusual because there is no yellow fever, malaria, or other major tropical diseases.

There is access to good medical facilities if needed. 

Are Road Conditions Safe In Fiji?

Roads in Fiji are often prone to potholes, especially in the high rainfall areas. The frequent cyclones also damage roads, and road maintenance is a challenge. Add this to the national mindset of driving as fast as possible in Fiji, and traveling the streets becomes quite hazardous.

Taxis and public transport do not always have working seat belts. Negotiating the roads in Fiji can leave you feeling unsafe. If you live in Fiji and can buy your own vehicle, you can minimize the road risk by ensuring that your seat belts work and by driving cautiously.

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Conclusion

Although there is a risk of earthquakes and tropical cyclones in Fiji, these can be mitigated by living in less impacted areas of Fiji. The Fijian culture is a friendly, helpful one which means that assistance is readily at hand if you need it. Safety is a relative term, and every person must decide for themselves what risks are acceptable.

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