Thousands of Solomon Islanders are still suffering the effects of the severe floods that struck in early April, resulting in loss of life and destroying homes and crops. The Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office is helping families to clean up and replant while they continue to receive food supplies from the Government and various agencies. These arrangements will remain in place until families are able to harvest their first crops.
SPC provided special assistance to the Solomon Islands government to aid in the rehabilitation of flood victims. At a ceremony on 9 May, Deputy Director-General, Ms Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu, conveyed SPC’s condolences and sympathy to the government and people of Solomon Islands for the loss of life and property, particularly in Guadalcanal. She said the aid relief assistance would help families badly affected by the floods as they return home to rebuild their lives.
Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Fiji, HE Mr John Patteson Oti, thanked SPC and expressed gratitude to fellow Pacific islanders for coming to the aid of another Pacific Island in need of assistance following a natural disaster. He said families living in Honiara were particularly affected compared to those in rural areas as they relied on government-provided services such as water and electricity, which were severely disrupted by the floods. Their cost of living has also gone up with supplies running low: ‘The cost of a bundle of bele at the Honiara market has increased ten-fold – it’s a disaster that has caused other disasters,’ said the High Commissioner.
SPC’s technical assistance was coordinated by its Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT), which provided seeds (vegetables and papaya) and sweet potato tissue culture material. This particular assistance was paid for by the New Zealand Aid Programme. The total package was worth over FJD 11,000. CePaCT sources climate-resilient and nutrient-rich sweet potato diversity from the International Potato Centre (CIP), Peru, and SPC supports food security for Pacific Island countries and territories and access to this diversity through its partnership with the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
In addition, over the past few weeks, staff at SPC’s Suva Regional Office have held fund-raising events through their social club to collect money and clothing. The goods have already been shipped to Honiara according to the office of the High Commission and the FJD 5,000 given by staff will be handed over to the Red Cross.
SPC’s country office in Honiara is continuing to update the organisation on developments in flood relief efforts in Honiara.