Temotu Tsunami situation Report #4
At 12.12pm a 8.0 magnitude undersea earthquake occurred 33km West-Southwest of the Santa Cruz Islands and generated a destructive tsunami. At 12.23pm the SI Meteorological Service issued a tsunami warning for 5 provinces in Solomon Islands; Temotu, Malaita, Makira-Ulawa, Central and Guadalcanal. By 1.18pm the threat to the 5 Provinces had been assessed and for Guadalcanal and Temotu this was downgraded to watch status. The tsunami warning remained in effect for Temotu, Makira-Ulawa and Malaita Provinces until 5pm on 07.02.2013. There were serious of aftershocks with three big ones. Lata has a population of 2,300 people. The whole Santa Cruz province has a population of 20,000 people.
There are about 3500 people affected by the Tsunami on Santa Cruz.
The immediate need for adequate supply of water has become the most acute problem as a result of the Earthquake and the resulting Tsunami. Adequate supply of drinking, cooking and washing water has become profoundly scarce. Water storage facilities (e.g. water tanks) have been destroyed in the affected communities and the few that are available serve the most vulnerablechildren and babies. Wells have become unusable- badly contaminated and piped water have also been destroyed completely. As people moved away from where they were at 12.12 p.m. on that fateful afternoon, they have in effect moved away to places where collecting water demands them more.
Water collecting utensils have disappeared. Mothers no longer own bottles, buckets, and containers to store water at home and in the kitchen, even the babies drinking bottle can’t be found.
Shelters, houses and homes have been destroyed, totally for most in the communities identified during assessment carried out to date, and unsuitable for human habitation for houses that remain partly standing. There is urgent need for assistance to be made available to bring back normalcy to lives of children who are having to make do with meager shelters put up since after the tsunami.
For people who have lost houses and homes, they have lost all beds, including mats, mattresses, pillows, blankets, clothing, cooking and eating utensils, food storage equipment, tools and the list of household belongings is complete. The little electrical appliances that a few have accumulated over the years have been lost.
Food gardens, fruit trees as well as livestock and poultry have also been destroyed as a result of the Tsunami. The extent and severity of inadequacy of food will be felt way into the year. The assessment that will commence on Monday 11th should provide good information for those with capacity to who might be able to provide food in the medium to longer term rather than short term. Staple food trees have been destroyed. Breadfruit trees are not planted in gardens, but around residences. It is obvious that breadfruit trees are very sensitive to salt. After less than a week many of the b/fruit trees are withering. It will take another 15 plus years for new trees to be able to sustain food needs of the people. It is inevitable that in the medium to long term food supply to these communities must be sustained from external sources.
On the ground observation and seeing the magnitude of the severity of the problems faced by the communities affected points to the fact that work to rehabilitate the communities is profound. Some have lost a lifetimes’ worth of investment and labour. The usual providers of water tanks, wells, houses and gardens – the fathers, have suddenly find themselves needing to work triple longer, triple harder, earn threefold more etc. etc. Put another way, he must rebuild the house, plant new gardens and food trees, dig new wells, purchase a new water tank and more can he manage this in the next few months to a few years. Those of us with capacity must have hearts warm enough longer than we normally would and have been in other places where we have provided similar assistance and to keep our assistance in the affected areas longer.