Solomon Islands

One month since the earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands

One month has passed since the earthquake and tsunami hit the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific on April 2, 2007 and aftershocks are still being felt several times a day. Affected people continue to live in tents set up on mountains for fear of returning to their homes near the seaside and being hit by further tsunami. Though some hospitals and clinics have resumed service, schools remain closed and a return to their normal life seems unlikely any time soon.

Red Cross relief operations continue

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies dispatched a relief team of 10 members to the affected areas immediately after the disaster, and these members, along with volunteers from the Solomon Islands Red Cross, have distributed tableware, hygiene kits (including soap and buckets), and tools for rebuilding houses. The Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) also sent a relief operation coordinator Ms. Mari Morimoto to the islands on April 13. She stationed in Gizo Island, and delivered relief supplies to neighboring islands every day by boat. Gizo Island is a small island with merely 5,000 residents, and one can view the sea on both sides of the island where the east-west width of the land is narrow, she said. She also reported that the water from the tsunami had come up to her hotel and remained in the swimming pool.

In response to a 170 million yen request for relief operations from the IFRC requested the international community to support its relief operations requiring approximately 170 million yen. In response to this request, the JRCS contributed 8.4 million yen, and the Japanese government, 24 million yen. These funds will be used to purchase and deliver food, kitchen sets, hygiene kits and tools.

The IFRC now plans to conduct recovery operations in the reconstruction of houses, improvements in water and hygiene conditions and re-storage of relief supplies. To assist in the reconstruction of houses, the IFRC will select, procure and deliver housing material used in the local areas. The most important point of all such activities is to encourage local residents to work voluntarily and tackle the problems by themselves.