Flooding of the Wainikoro and Bucaisau River valleys (Vanua Levu, Fiji) in April 2000 probably reached the highest levels since at least 1950. The one-day rainfall at a site near Labasa was the highest in 37 years of record. Damages were not exceptional by urban standards – only about F$3 million in financial losses. However, a loss of even $1000 of household contents or animals can represent the loss of many years’ savings, and possibly, livelihoods. A number of options for reducing future flood losses are explored: from ensuring the adequate capacity of floodgates, to improving informal flood warning systems. Better floodplain mapping and recording of flood histories is needed as a solid foundation for floodplain management. Efforts to educate flood-liable communities should be promoted, because in the short-term at least, the isolated rural communities north-east of Labasa will need to respond to flood threats with a degree of self-reliance.