Solomon Islands: UN continues to provide aid as 5,500 displaced in wake of tsunami

9 April 2007

After a deadly tsunami struck the Solomon Islands one week ago, the United Nations continues to provide aid and technical assistance in the wake of the natural disaster which has displaced at least 5,500 people in the South Pacific nation, the world body’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

After a deadly tsunami struck the Solomon Islands one week ago, the United Nations continues to provide aid and technical assistance in the wake of the natural disaster which has displaced at least 5,500 people in the South Pacific nation, the world body’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

According to Government figures, 35 people have died after last week’s tsunami which was caused by an earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale, whose epicentre was 345 kilometres northwest of the country’s capital.

Approximately 1,500 people who were forced to flee their homes are now residing in 12 camps around the town of Gizo.

Sanitation remains a problem in the camps around Gizo, as streams and rainwater are the main source of water for the displaced. Since many water tanks and pipes in the town were damaged in the earthquake, news tanks have since been installed.

Also, shops in Gizo, despite retaining stocks of food, are not yet open for business, but are expected to begin selling items in the next few days which will increase the food supply.

The UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team dispatched to the Solomon Islands is working closely with the Government in bolstering coordination and information management, while the UN Resident Coordinator based in Fiji, Richard Dictus, is in Honiara to meet with UN agencies on the ground and officials.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has sent emergency health kits, as health officials continue to monitor diarrhoea-related illnesses, malaria and measles. OCHA said that a measles and vitamin A campaign will be launched next week.

The Government reports that there are enough medical professionals and supplies to administer to the current needs. However, the number of injured may climb as people from disaster-affected communities return to their homes from higher ground and go to hospitals, OCHA said.

Five medical teams from France, Taiwan, Canada, Australia and the Red Cross have been deployed to support the Ministry of Health, and the French military has airlifted drugs and other medical supplies to Gizo.

 

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