Solomon Islands: Relief teams may be in Solomons 'for months'
Greg Hunt says an RAAF Hercules full of personnel and supplies has arrived to bolster Australian relief efforts in the western province of the Solomon Islands.
He says the emergency aid work is progressing well and will continue for some time.
"We have to move into the process of reconstructing and helping to re-establish villages," he said.
"There's no doubt that reconstruction will take not only weeks but months, that's absolutely clear."
Solomons officials say relief efforts are making a difference in areas devastated by this week's tsunami.
Rebuilding has already begun on the island of Ghizo.
The Premier of Western Province, Alex Lokopio, says aid that started arriving yesterday is being put to good use.
"We've established six different camps up on the hill - things are coming and we are very happy," he said.
"We keep distributing food, water, shelter and other medical supplies to the homeless people, and people who are not allowed to go back to the coastal area."
In the city of Gizo on Ghizo island, the ANZ bank is dispensing money and other businesses are starting to operate again.
But some buildings, like the Catholic Church, are substantially damaged.
There has also been structural damage to some of the town's largest establishments.
Titiana village on the edge of Gizo, which is occupied by Gilbertese naturalised Solomon Islanders, is a mess.
It is where at least six people died.
The Save the Children Fund made an inspection tour today of villages around the coast of Ghizo and say most are smashed up, with the survivors having moved inland to higher ground.