Solomon Islands: Earthquake and Tsunami - Information Bulletin n° 3

Summary

On 6 February, there was an 8.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Santa Cruz Islands, Temotu Province in the Solomon Islands, followed by 90 strong aftershocks for 2 weeks. Tsunami waves (1 – 3.5 meters) were experienced in Santa Cruz, Temotu Province which flattened many traditional houses.

As reported by the National Disaster Council of Solomon Islands, there were nine confirmed deaths from the disaster. Initial damage assessment reports indicate up to 1,066 houses were either partially damaged or destroyed as a result of the earthquake and tsunami with up to 4,509 people directly affected.

The Solomon Islands Red Cross (SIRC) continues to work closely with the government and other agencies to ensure an effective and efficient response. This includes the provision of clean water, emergency shelter and distribution of non-food relief items.

The situation

The undersea earthquake measuring 8.0 which occurred 33km west south-west of the Santa Cruz region in the Solomon Islands generated a tsunami which affected a number of villages in Santa Cruz, Temotu Province. Multi-agencies’ assessments confirmed that 588 houses have been completely destroyed and 478 houses have been partially damaged, affecting 4,509 people in 1,066 households, an estimated 37 per cent of the population of Santa Cruz Island.

The displaced population of Temotu have since self-settled but are dispersed, fragmented and mobile, living in relatively small sites around the original villages on the coast of the island. The sites are situated on private and communal lands and in many cases, comprised of three to four families living together. The SIRC, with support of the cluster coordinator, is working with the government and other agencies to finalize and implement the Humanitarian Action Plan (HAP). The plan aims to provide families with means for immediate emergency shelter, as well as the development of a comprehensive longer-term shelter and settlement strategy.