Solomon Islands

South Pacific Tsunami - OCHA Situation Report No. 11

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published
South Pacific Tsunami - April 2007
OCHA Situation Report No. 11

This situation report is based on information received from the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and National Disaster Council (NDC) of the Solomon Islands, the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Fiji, OCHA Offices in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Bangkok, UN agencies, NGOs, donors and media sources.

SITUATION

1.An earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale struck 345km northwest of the Solomon Islands' capital Honiara at 0740 local time on 02 April. (2040 GMT 01 April). The earthquake created a tsunami causing casualties and significant damage in the Solomon Islands. The NDC reports that the affected area includes Gizo, Simbo, Ranogga, Shortland Islands, Munda, Noro, Vella la Vella, Kolombangarra and parts of the southern coast of Choiseul. Gizo, Simbo Island, western coast of Ranongga and the central southern coast of Choiseul between Moli and Posarae and Sasamunga are worst-affected areas.

2.The Government of the Solomon Islands (GoSI) estimates the casualty figure at 35 (some media put the number at 43). The number of affected populations is estimated at 9,000 people (1). At least 1,500 people still require urgent assistance.

3.Several aftershocks (magnitude 3) that affected the western Solomon Islands on 11-12 April prompted rumours of another tsunami among the affected populations. The GoSI is encouraging the communities to return to their homes to begin reconstruction and facilitate provision of assistance.

4.Assessments completed in the last days indicate that the population of Vona Vona lagoon suffered considerable damage and is in need of additional food. Their sanitation and water supply facilities also require repair. In Renvoda island, two villages (Madili and Rendova harbour) have been be badly damaged. In the Shortland Islands, the village of Tumora was also damaged. Clinic in Mila, the main health facility for the Shortlands, was damaged and most of the supplies were lost or damaged. The tsunami-affected communities in Kolombangara are in need of tents and food. Shortage of NFIs (cooking utensils, soap and clothes) in other areas has also been reported. Thoroughout the tsunami-affected areas, psychological trauma is evident.

5.Stagnant water, contamination of water sources, poor sanitation and limited access to health facilities are heightening the risk of malaria, diarrhoeal and respiratory diseases. Reports of new diarrhoea and possible pertussis cases have been received, although levels do not reach emergency threshold. A continuous, heavy rain forced the makeshift hospital on Gizo Hill to relocate to a wing of Gizo hospital. In Sassamunga (Choiseul island), the hospital and medical clinic is badly damaged; medical debris and hazardous material have contaminated the local water source.

II. NATIONAL RESPONSE

6.Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare announced that he will take a five-day tour of the affected areas of the Western and Choiseul Provinces. His party will include government officers to conduct educational awareness talks.

7.The NDMO is compiling a database of key indicators from impact assessments carried out by various agencies. This database will provide a more comprehensive picture of the needs of the affected communities.

8.An NDMO officer is managing the airport reception centre to receive, register and guide incoming relief teams. 70% of relief cargo received at Honiara Airport has been distributed to the affected areas.

9.The second logistics meeting held on 12 April discussed the proposal by UNDAC and the NDMO secretariat to establish a Logistics Group to oversee and manage the logistics chain to ensure a more efficient flow of relief, including the prioritisation of needs. Furthermore, a tracking matrix adopted by NDMO has been useful in monitoring the personnel, goods and services coming in and out of Honiara.

10.A Psychosocial Meeting was held on 12 April with representatives from WHO, UNICEF, Save the Children (SCF), the Ministry of Women and Social Welfare, UNIFEM, NZAID and UNDAC in attendance. The group discussed implementation of psychosocial support projects in the affected areas.

III. IN-COUNTRY INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE

11.Coordination: The NDMO and UNDAC Team are developing an exit strategy for the UNDAC Team, which is due to depart from the Solomon Islands on 19 April. The UNDAC field team in Gizo will return to Honiara on 16 April. The exit strategy will be available on the Virtual OSOCC from 13 April.

12.Richard Dictus, the UN Resident Coordinator (RC), Fred Fakarii (NDC Chairman) and Loti Yates (Director NDMO) met with Honiara-based donors on 12 April. The next donor meeting will be held on 13 April and will be chaired by Fred Fakarii (NDC Chairman).

13.Logistics and distribution: World Vision distributed assorted NFIs (family kits, bucket, tarps, blanket and tools, water containers and hurricane lamps) for 800 people in the Simbo Island. UNICEF has donated 300 wind up radios and 200 tents to other areas. Additional large family tents have been ordered.

14.Health: UNICEF and WHO are supporting the Ministry of Health in preparing the measles vaccination campaign in the tsunami-affected areas. 30 graduate nurses, to be deployed between 16-18 April, will vaccinate children aged 6 months to 14 years and distribute Vitamin A supplements. The nurses will also be equipped with first aid kits and other medicines to respond to other health needs.

15.Water and sanitation: Oxfam and SCF are carrying out distribution of drinking water in the IDP camps. World Vision is carrying out water and sanitation activities in Ranongga, Simbo and Gizo. UNICEF donated 1,000 ORS sachets and 6,000 bars of soap. UNICEF and other agencies are preparing a community mobilization campaign on water and sanitation issues.

IV. INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE

16.RAMSI will phase out helicopter support between 12-14 April. The US military has will provide air transportation to the tsunami-affected areas through its two helicopters.

17.The Australian Defense Forces (ADF) set up a medical centre in Sassamunga. The ADF medical team is now outreaching communities camping in the high ground, who do not yet wish to return to their home village. An ADF environmental assessment is following up on the issue of medical waste contaminating the local water source.

18.The GoSI received 48,000 mosquito nets from the Global Fund.

V. TRANSITION TO RECOVERY

19.In Gizo, a recovery meeting was held on 12 April. The participants agreed that the recovery efforts should focus on quick-impact activities in livelihoods, shelter, governance, environment and psychosocial assistance with the objective of enabling the communities to quickly recover and allowing the Provincial Government to resume service delivery. The Provincial Government requested agencies to conduct recovery activities through, and in formal agreement with, its structures. The Provincial Government will chair the subsequent recovery meetings.

Note: (1) The population of Solomon Islands in 2006 was approx. 550,000.

This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OSOCC Internet Website http://www.unocha.org/vosocc and on the OCHA Internet Website http://www.reliefweb.int/.

UNDAC Team Contact Details:

UNDAC Team leader
Location: National Disaster Management Office, Honiara
Office +677 27 837, +677 27 051
Mobile +677 88716, +677 88718
e-mail: undacsi@gmail.com

UNDAC Field Team, Gizo
Location: Provincial Administrators Office for NDMO,
Mobile +677 88 697, +677 88 696
Satellite +870 764 130894
e-mail: undacgizo@gmail.com

For detailed information please contact:

OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok)

Mr. Rajan Gengaje, Regional Disaster Response Adviser
Tel. + 66-2288-2572
Fax: +66-2288-1043
Mob. + 66-8-1916-1271
e-mail: gengaje@un.org

Desk Officers:

(NY)
Mr. Wojtek Wilk (desk officer for SI earthquake and tsunami)
Tel. +1-917 367 9748
e-mail: wilkw@un.org

(GVA)
Mr. Erik Kastlander
Tel. +41-22-917 1587

Press contact:

(NY)
Ms. Stephanie Bunker
Tel. +1-917 367 5126

(GVA)
Ms. Elizabeth Byrs
Tel. +41-22-917 2653

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.