Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Cyclone Zoe Assessment Report



Central Control Group




  • Highest Priority Needs
  • Second Priority Needs


  • 1 Cyclone Zoë
  • 2 Team findings
  • 3 Team recommendations
  • 4 Underlying principles
  • 5 Overall management of the response operation


  • 6 Team composition
  • 7 Tasks
  • 8 Timings
  • 9 Team management
  • 10 Sectors assessed
  • 11 Method


  • 12 Physical characteristics
  • 13 Socio-economic characteristics
  • 14 Access
  • 15 Cultural considerations
  • 16 Coping capacity
  • 17 Population


  • 18 Manmade structures
  • 19 The natural environment
  • 20 Community productivity
  • 21 Food / nutrition
  • 22 Health
  • 23 Water supply and sanitation
  • 24 Communications


  • 25 The situation on Vanikoro and Utupua
  • 26 Assistance provided


  • 27 Debris clearance
  • 28 Replacement of lost household items
  • 29 Mosquito nets
  • 30 Coordination support over the medium to longer term
  • 31 Financial resources
  • 32 Future cyclones


  • A Estimated Population Distribution for Tikopia and Anuta
  • B Provisional Estimate of Damage to Structures
  • C Contributions and Offers of Assistance as at 10 Jan 03
  • D Acronyms

Executive Summary

A comprehensive assessment of the impact of Tropical Cyclone Zoë on Tikopia and Anuta and other islands in Temotu Province, was carried out from 5 to 9 January 2003, after the seas had settled sufficiently to launch a mission. The assessment team's recommendations for further relief and support to the recovery process are summarised as follows:


Short term (immediately)

- The Agriculture and Fisheries Division must conduct an assessment to determine the impact on these sectors, and to lay the groundwork for a full recovery plan.

- Nutritionally balanced food relief needs to be provided on a continuous basis, for at least 12 months and possibly up to 2 years on Tikopia, and for 3 to 6 months on Anuta. The food security situation should be monitored and quantities of food aid can be reduced as local production is restored.

- The NDMO must put together a comprehensive plan, with costs, to obtain and deliver sufficient bush building materials to rebuild 220 houses and repair 50. The most important item is sago palm, and this will cost approximately SBD 500,000.

- The NDMO should follow up on all the pledged contributions and less specific offers of assistance made domestically and from overseas, to fund the recovery.

- The NDMO should obtain donor funding for 2 chainsaws, ancillary/spares packs, and frames at a cost of SBD 18,000 each, for long-term loan to the islands.

- Solomon Islands Red Cross will supply a further 100 family packs to Tikopia, at a cost of approximately SBD 50,000.

- The entire population of both islands should be supplied with mosquito bed-nets.

- If further temporary shelter materials are provided as an interim solution to the shelter problem, they should be proper tarpaulins rather than plastic sheeting.

Medium term (up to 1 month)

- The existing water supply systems on Tikopia should be restored.

- Planting materials and gardening tools are needed, especially on Tikopia. Any taro delivered must be inspected for taro beetles first.

- The CCG should request FAO to conduct a quick assessment of food security on the islands and to design an agricultural and fishing recovery plan, in cooperation with the Agriculture and Fisheries Division, as soon as possible.

- The CCG and provincial government should encourage the population to repair essential community facilities, as a priority.

- The clinic and staff quarters on Tikopia should be rehabilitated and re-equipped.

- The Government should ensure that any funding commitments made through the National Disaster Council Trust Fund to commercial or other actors, are honoured.

Longer term (1 to 3 months)

- An adviser on the recovery of community productivity in small Pacific islands through the regeneration of agriculture and fisheries should be posted on Tikopia for up to a year.

- The islands need an integrated rural development plan, with an on-site coordinator (who could be the same person as the agriculture and fisheries adviser).

- The existing health worker on Anuta should receive more training and a registered nurse should be stationed on the island.

- Rebuilding of schools and re-establishment of primary education on two islands.

- Primary healthcare services such as immunisation, maternal and infant healthcare, routine disease surveillance, and regular re-supply should be re-established.

- A regular maintenance programme is needed for the clinics and their HF radios. Only sealed batteries should be supplied for the radios in future.


Short term (up to 1 month)

- Suitable logs for building outrigger dugout canoes must be imported to the islands.

Medium term (1 to 3 months)

- The NDMO should request technical assistance in the form of an emergency response and recovery adviser, for a period of up to a year.

- The Division of Environment and Conservation should ask the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme to conduct a thorough impact assessment. In particular the problems with erosion and loss of topsoil need scrutiny.

- The Temotu Provincial Government should negotiate with the community on Anuta to permit the establishment of a proper clinic or a smaller health aid post.

- The SIBC relay station on Nendo Island should be completed as soon as possible.

Longer term (beyond 3 months)

- Food security should be reviewed at 6 monthly intervals for the next 2 years.

- The issue of what to do with the changes to Lake Te Roto, needs to be addressed by the Division of Environment and Conservation and the local community.

- Subject to developments with the lake, it may need to be restocked with fish.

- Limited restocking of livestock should be considered.

- The development of ventilated improved pit latrines should be considered.

- In future, the national patrol boats should visit these remote islands as often as possible, so that they can check on the HF radios and repair them if necessary.

- A more robust form of communication is needed with Tikopia and Anuta. If culturally acceptable to the communities, establishment of rural e-mail stations through the Solomon Islands People First Network should be considered.

- The NDMO's facilities should be gradually improved, and adequate budget provided to support minimal day-to-day operations, outside emergencies.

- The Bureau of Meteorology should be adequately funded to ensure that its central office and remote stations such as at Lata, have basic infrastructure.

- Technical Adviser to assist National Disaster Management Office in capacity building and facilitation of proposed National Emergency Operation Center.

- Extend capacity to the Provincial Disaster Committees prioritizing Temotu Provincial Disaster Council.

- The islands will need assistance with procuring bush-building materials for the routine replacement of sago palm wall panels and thatch, for years to come.

Solomon Islands - Tropical Cyclone ZO=CB
28-29 December 2002


1. Cyclone Zoë

Cyclone Zoë was identified by the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre at Nadi on Thu 26 Dec 02, when it was located at latitude 10.8 degrees south and longitude 174.5 degrees east, travelling in a westerly direction at 20 km/h, with a sustained wind speed of 95 km/h and momentary gusts up to 130 km/h. Zoë rapidly became a category 5 cyclone - the highest level - and reached its peak intensity on Sat 28 Dec, with extremely high seas, sustained winds of 245 km/h and gusts up to 340 km/h. At this time the eye of the storm was located only 50 km southeast of Anuta. Over the next 24 hours the weather system moved only 20 km further away from Anuta on its southwest heading, maintaining its intensity as it passed within 30 km of Tikopia. At only 890 hectopascals, the pressure of the system was so low that, when combined with the hurricane-force winds, it caused extremely strong storm surge to the islands. Tikopia sustained more damage because Zoë was almost stationary near the island for a period of 16 hours.

The cyclone finally moved away to the south-southeast late on Sun 29 Dec, passing close to the main islands of Vanuatu. According to the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre at Brisbane, Cyclone Zoë was the most intense cyclone to affect the Southwest Pacific Region, since reliable satellite data has been available.

2. Team findings

In spite of the lack of casualties, the overall impression of the assessment team is that the situation on Tikopia and Anuta is very serious. According to the Secretary of the Temotu Provincial Government and Chairman of the Provincial Disaster Committee (PDC), Zoë was by far the worst cyclone in living memory. The needs of the population are greater and will last longer than initially thought.

3. Team recommendations

The assessment team's recommendations for further relief and support to the recovery process are summarised on the first page of this report.

Overall, the communities on Tikopia and Anuta need an integrated rural redevelopment plan that will bring together all the different sectoral inputs in a coherent manner. Once the emergency phase and the Central Control Group (CCG) have wound the immediate relief operation down, the Rural Development Division of the Ministry of Provincial Government and Rural Development could be empowered to provide such a service, perhaps through the Rural Development Volunteers Association (RDVA) supported by UNDP. An essential component of the recommended approach is the establishment of an on-site coordinator in Tikopia, with the capability of visiting Anuta on a regular basis, if possible.

4. Underlying principles

Relief and recovery inputs have been prioritised purely on the basis of the greatest and most urgent needs of the affected communities on Tikopia and Anuta. Given the severity of the impact of Cyclone Zoë, the needs are not excessive. At all stages, the national and provincial managers of the relief and recovery operation will seek to avoid creating dependency on, or overly high expectations about the aid. Assistance will be delivered through normal channels and seek to reinforce local structures as much as possible, to avoid the possibility of rejection by the beneficiaries.

5. Overall management of the response operation

A small and effective Central Control Group (CCG) was established in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. It is chaired by the acting Police Commissioner and has membership including the Adventist Disaster Relief Agency (ADRA), Oxfam, Solomon Islands Red Cross (SIRC), World Vision, the Ministry of Health, the Meteorological Service, the Marine Division, and the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO). The CCG reports to the National Disaster Council (NDC) and is the working-level body managing the operation from day-to-day. It has allocated responsibilities for media liaison, donor liaison, local donations, NGO coordination, logistics, manning the operations room, and administrative support.

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