Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands: River blockage on Rannonga Island poses threat

The people of Rannonga Island reported to the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and the Provincial Disaster Council (PDC) in Gizo, last week that two rivers on the island had been blocked as a result of earthquake-triggered landslide on April 2.

Falling trees, debris and huge volume of slide materials that slid from the steep slopes from two ridges on opposite sides of the two rivers namely Kara and Kolomali had caused the blockage.

The NDMO/PDC dispatched team of geologists had carried out an immediate assessment of the two rivers and have concluded that any moves to stabilize the flow of the two rivers would require further assessments by engineers to determine how best to remove the materials that had obstructed the down flow of the rivers without posing threat to the villages situated close to the river.

The geologists confirmed that the blockage on both rivers was estimated to be 5 to 10 metres high with width of between 15 to 20 metres.

They said that from their observations there remained the imminent risk of further slides occurring from the steep slopes.

The NDMO in Gizo has warned the Kara and Kolomali villagers to be very careful of slides and to stay away from the rivers at all times in case of sudden release of the blockage especially during rainy weather.

Mr. Stanley Basi from the Geology Assessment team explained that it is important at this stage that an engineer is engaged to make a site visit to investigate the blockage.

"It is best and safe for the villages of Kara and Kolomali that the blockage is removed as soon as possible," Mr. Basi said.

He however added that the removal of those huge deposited materials on the river channels would require machines to do the job.

At the same the NDMO/PDC in Gizo has also warned the people to be extra cautious when venturing into the bush to their gardens on the hilltops, as they are highly susceptible to landslides at any moment.

Meanwhile, the community of Kara village that uses the Kara river for drinking, cooking, washing and bathing has requested water tanks to be immediately provided to them as they could no longer use the river which has turned murky and polluted.