Solomon Islands: Choiseul Premier calls for relocation of provincial capital

Report
from Government of Solomon Islands
Published on 19 Apr 2007
By Chris Leua

In Taro

Choiseul Province Premier Jackson Kiloe has appealed to the government to have the provincial capital Taro relocated to a much higher and safety location.

Mr Kiloe made the appeal to the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and his delegation when they made a stop-over in the Choiseul Provincial capital, Taro this morning where Mr Sogavare met with the Premier and his Assembly.

Mr Kiloe said Taro was spared the physical destruction but "the emotional and psychological effects of the disaster was felt by every family and person living in Taro."

The Premier said Taro residents are very fortunate to be spared. "If it had been affected then nobody in Taro would have been able to escape as the island is totally flat and all surrounded by water," he said.

"We have just witnessed how vulnerable Taro is to natural disasters. We urge the national government to support the province in expediting the process of relocating the provincial capital to the main island.

"This is an approved national government's project that we would like to see more funds ejected into it this year," said Mr Kiloe.

The most affected areas in Choiseul province are areas from Sulivae, five kilometers from Taro to Puzivae, further down the southern coast.

Five deaths were confirmed for the province with more than 2600 families affected.

Supplies are slow getting in to this most northerly province; the first chattered ship by the National Disaster Council arrived at Taro a week after the disaster struck. The second shipment arrived only two days ago.

The premier is thus appealing for faster delivery of emergency relief supplies, which are to be shipped directly to Taro without by passing Gizo, which has resulted in the acute delays.

"There is a need for someone from NDC or other organizations in Honiara to be sent to Taro to assist our committee. Forgive us for thinking that the Western Province is given that assistance. Why not us?" Mr Kiloe said.

Mr Kiloe told the high-powered delegation that the visit was probably not made at the best time however he was thankful and honored that the Prime Minister was able to spare time to visit the provincial capital.