Solomon Islands

ACT update Solomon Islands 01/2003: Cyclone Zoe causes devastation on Solomon Islands of Tikopia and Anuta

Geneva, 10 January, 2003 - Relief efforts to help the inhabitants of two remote Pacific islands are continuing after a powerful cyclone slammed into the islands nearly two weeks ago. The Church of Melanesia, a member of the global alliance of Action by Churches Together (ACT) International, reports that they will be responding to the disaster by assisting the inhabitants of the two islands, Tikopia and Anuta (both form part of the eastern Solomon Islands). The cyclone, with winds reaching up to 220 mph (250 km per hour) battered the islands on 28 -29 December, causing widespread damage to Tikopia (located about 600 miles from the capital of the Solomon Islands, Honiara). Anuta however did not suffer as much damage.
Most of the coastal villages were washed away during the cyclone. Apart from the houses that were either completely destroyed or severely damaged, five church buildings were also destroyed. The water supply system on Tikopia suffered some damage as well, although fresh water for drinking was available. According to reports from the National Disaster Council of the Solomon Islands three shiploads of relief supplies had been sent to the islands. However, the assistance provided thus far to this far-flung island (Tikopia) appears not to have met all the needs.

The General Secretary of the Church of Melanesia reports that the church is mobilizing relief assistance for Tikopia that will include food, clothing, bedding, local building materials such as sago palm leaves, household items such as cooking utensils and gardening tools. The church will use its own vessel to deliver the relief supplies later this month. The church intends to focus on relief items such as local building materials that are still in short supply.

ACT International and the World Council of Churches are in contact with the Church of Melanesia. In consultation with its partners ACT will possibly respond to a request for financial assistance by the church from its Rapid Response Fund.

Thank you for your attention.

For further information please contact:

ACT Director, Thor-Arne Prois (phone ++41 22 791 6033 or mobile phone ++ 41 79 203 6055) or
ACT Appeals Officer, Mieke Weeda (phone ++ 41 22 791 6035 or mobile phone ++ 41 79 285 2916)

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.