Major earthquake and tsunami in northern Solomon islands, Report #2

More specific information is coming out of the Western and Choiseul Provinces of Solomon Islands. Radio New Zealand International has a good overview report out this morning.

Degree of destruction from Solomon's tsunami becoming more apparent

Posted at 08:13 on 03 April, 2007 UTC

The confirmed death toll following the earthquake in Solomon Islands has now risen to 24.

The National Disaster Council says 12 people are confirmed dead on Simbo and eight in Gizo.

Another two people died in Mondo on Ranongga and two died on Choiseul island.

A spokesman for the council, Julian Makaa, says the most recent reports indicate that more than 900 homes have been destroyed and nearly 5,500 people have been affected by the earthquake and associated tsunami.

The Solomon's Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, describes some of the damage in Choiseul and Gizo:

"The entire school in south Choiseul is totally wiped out. At that school there is an enrolment of 300 students. They are basically without the infrastructure to continue with their school. A number of villages and one of the biggest villages in South Choiseul, Sasamunga, has 20 houses destroyed. The entire Fishing Village in Gizo is wiped out completely."

In Gizo, the western province premier, Alex Lokopio, says there will be a great deal of hardship ahead and much of the town will need to be rebuilt:

"Even the Chinese and other business people who set up their good business here in Gizo - most of their business have been destroyed. I mean their houses, and the goods in their stores - all have gone, washed away by the tsunami."

Julian Makaa of the National Disaster Council says there could also problems with medicine:

"A good number clinics washed away with all medical supplies so the health department is also compiling informaton."

A disaster official in Papua New Guinea's Milne Bay says a family of five, which was swept out to sea when the Solomon Islands tsunami struck the province's Rossel Island, has since been located.

Eric Balaria also says the tsunami caused just minor damage on the outer Milne Bay islands of Rossel and Woodlark.

He says the waves pounded the area for about 90 minutes on Monday morning.

"There was a series of tsunamis which caused slight damage to the area especially the houses built along the beach, they were damaged, a couple of houses, and including dinghies and canoes that have been washed away by the surge of water, but there have been no casualties so far."

Mr Balaria says on the Budi Budi atolls the waves washed some distance inland but no damaged was done.

Meanwhile, the administrator on Bougainville, Peter Tsiamalili, says there were no injuries or damage to property on Bougainville island or any of the province's low lying atolls.

Assessment and relief efforts are continuing today. Although numbers are likely to increase on those in this report, it is unlikely at this point that it would be a dramatic increase.

APCEDI will continue to monitor this situation and report as needed.

Kevin Vang
APCEDI Coordinator

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