Floods hit Honiara, communities prepare for cyclone

from World Vision
Published on 04 Apr 2014 View Original

Consecutive days of rain caused by a tropical storm have blocked roads and flooded large parts of the capital, Honiara. Bridges are unpassable or washed away and electricity is intermittent.

World Vision’s emergency response team in the Solomon Islands has been activated, in preparation for assistance to communities in the flood-affected capital, and is on standby for cyclone activity.

“More than 10,000 people have been affected, especially those communities living along or near the river. The National Referral Hospital has evacuated patients from the children’s and maternity wards as the sea is rising and there is erosion of the coastline. The Guadalcanal plains area is badly flooded,” said Lawrence Hillary, World Vision Solomon Islands Response Manager.

“Food, blankets, hygiene kits, clothing and temporary shelter are going to be the greatest needs,” said Hillary.

A part of its disaster preparedness plan, World Vision has relief items pre-positioned in Honiara in readiness for distribution to affected communities.

The Chinatown central business district is flooded and the Mataniko River has burst is banks causing major flooding, affecting communities residing along the river. The Old Mataniko Bridge is underwater and the new Mataniko Bridge (western approach) is at risk of being washed away.

“Four communities that World Vision assists in Honiara (Burns Creek, Lord Howe, Sun Valley, and White River) have been affected. Rising water levels have caused damage to houses, properties have been washed away, houses washed out to sea, water is dirty and therefore not drinkable,” said Lawrence.

Nine schools have been designated as evacuation centres servicing three areas: East Honiara, Central Honiara and West Honiara, as part of the National Disaster Management Office’s response plan.

Japan’s meteorological department has indicated the system will intensify and become a tropical cyclone. A ‘tropical disturbance watch’ for Rennell & Bellona, Western, Russells, Guadalcanal, Makira and Malaita provinces was activated at 18:00 local time by the Solomon Islands meteorological department.