9 April 2014 (Radio Australia) – Authorities say it could be weeks before water supplies to the capital of Solomon Islands are restored.
Last week, unprecedented flooding in the Pacific island nation claimed the lives of 23 people and left 9,000 homeless.
It also wreaked havoc on Honiara's water mains, with around 50 per cent of the city now unable to access water, and pipes to one of the main water supply depots broken.
Solomon Water General Manager Richard Austin said parts of the water system have been completely destroyed.
"We have two levels of problem," he told the ABC.
"We're dealing with the amount of water available in Honiara, generally, but also … provid[ing] safe basic quantities of drinking water to the evacuation centres."
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced a $3 million aid package to help the flood recovery.
Australia will also boost the number of personnel in the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
There are now 16 Australian Defence Force personnel deployed in the country.
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules carried additional personnel and Australian humanitarian relief supplies to Honiara on Monday.
Transparency Solomon Islands has accused the government of using the flood as an excuse to release constituency funds ahead of this year's election.
The election is expected to be held at the end of October.
The devastating flood has so far claimed 23 lives and left up to 50,000 people homeless causing extensive damage to roads and infrastructure.
On Monday, Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo told parliament the money would be released to MPs to enable them to respond to their constituents needs following the flood.
The first portion of this year's Constituency Development Funds provided by Taiwan was due to be released last month, but was put on hold until MPs filed their acquittals for the previous period.
Chief Executive of Transparency Solomon Islands, Daniel Fenua has told Pacific Beat, it is concerning the money is being released to MPs in areas not affected by the floods.
"But for those constituencies that are outside of Guadalcanal Province, we are just worried that the election is here and is a triggering factor," he said. [more]
(ReliefWeb) – Prolonged heavy rainfall associated with a tropical depression passing over the Solomon Islands group on 3 April 2014 has resulted in severe flooding in the capital Honiara, and damages in Makira, Malaita, and Isabel provinces. As of 8 April, there are 23 confirmed deaths, 25 missing and an estimated 52,000 people affected across the Solomon Islands (population 515,870), around half of which are children.
Government and aid agencies are working together to support 12,000 people in 26 evacuation centres in east and west Honiara. Honiara City Council is now managing the evacuation centres and National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) is collecting food for the centres. The National Disaster Council met on 6 April and instructed partners responsible for welfare and internally displaced people to establish evacuation centre management teams.
Solomon Islands Red Cross Society (SIRC), World Vision, Oxfam and Save the Children are distributing food and non-food items (NFIs). While the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAID) also pledged to fund NFIs and replacement of NFIs. SIRC and Oxfam are the lead actors in management of the evacuation centres.
According to the UNOCHA report on 6 April, the most populated shelters are in east Honiara, with over 3,500 people at Panatina Pavilion and around 1,000 at both the airport terminal and King George VI School. Initial food and water distributions have occurred, although there is urgent need for additional food, water, clothing, blankets, mosquito nets and cooking utensils. Solomon Island corrections officers have been put into evacuation centers to assist with maintaining the security.
Small rivers across the northwest, central and north of the island have flooded, destroying homes, damaging bridges and displacing families. There are also reports of landslides and loss of food gardens. The Mataniko River burst its banks washing away houses and damaging infrastructure.
There is still limited communication to many of the affected areas. In Makira-Ulawa (pop. 40,419), an aerial survey was conducted, with the Waihauru Bridge cut-off and reports of damage from a 6.0 magnitude earthquake two days ago. Meanwhile, the floods have also destroyed many houses and blocked access to roads In Malaita (pop. 137,596). In Isabel (pop. 26,158), a landslide and flooding in Buala has resulted in two deaths, although it is unclear if these fatalities are included in total statistics.
Honiara International Airport has reopened to limited commercial flights as navigation lights are damaged and the domestic terminal is flooded.
The National Referral Hospital is open and accepting new patients. There are concerns that flooded areas and contaminated water supplies will lead to increased risks of infection and outbreaks of water-borne and vector-borne diseases.
The Solomon Islands Government has allocated SBD 5million (approx. CHF 600,552) in emergency funds to support response efforts.