Solomon Islands

UNICEF External Situation Report Solomon Islands - 16 May 2007

Situation Report
Originally published
Tsunami-Earthquake Emergency Programme

Major Developments

The Government now estimates that 11,322 (1) people on the islands of Gizo, Ranonnga, Vella la Vella, parts of southern coast of Choiseul, Simbo, Shortlands, Munda, Rendova and Kolombangara were affected by the earthquake and tsunami on 2 April 2007.

The Director of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Chair of the National Disaster Council (NDC) and Officer in Charge of the Technical Advisory Team (TAT) for the recovery provided a briefing on consolidated data and Initial Recovery Strategy Paper for donors on the 7th of May. Key future action points set out in the paper are:

- Coordination teams to be strengthened at the national and provincial levels including a Coordination Manager, Management Information Assistant and Public Information Assistant, although this timeframe was not met;

- Consultation with NGOs and other stakeholders on recovery plans to be held in the week beginning 21 May; and

- The TAT and NDMO to produce a Recovery Action Plans (including a monitoring and evaluation framework) covering Housing and Shelter; Water Supply and Sanitation; IDP camp management; Livelihood Recovery; Information Sharing and Coordination; Health and Education and Transport Infrastructure by the end of the month (31.05.2007).

The Chairman of Western Province Disaster Committee (PDC) has issued a media release on the 14th of May informing people in affected areas about the need to carefully plan their future community locations so that rebuilding of infrastructure and housing could be done on a more permanent basis and investment to this effect is not lost.

Needs Assessment

NDC/PDC has been conducting an independent assessment of all affected areas but the results have not yet been released.

A detailed water and sanitation assessment form was developed for ongoing assessments and a database of all affected villages is under development, based on previous assessments by UNICEF, Oxfam and ADF, in a form suitable for water and sanitation and other sectors.

The MHMS infrastructure assessment of all clinics in the affected provinces started during the week of the 7th of May and should be complete two weeks from now. As part of UNICEF collaboration with MHMS, our WASH consultant will accompany the team to assess the WES component of the infrastructure damage.

The Ministry of Education Assessment teams have all started to report back at the National level. It is hoped that all reports will be finalized and the initial disaster response plan will be completed by this Friday. An assessment report will be completed by Monday, 21 May 2007. UNICEF is working closely with the Ministry to quickly plan and act over the coming weeks.

An ADB infrastructure assessment has commenced this week.

UNICEF Response


The WATSAN coordination meeting held in Gizo on 7 May identified several key issues and principles that will affect the provision of water supply repairs/upgrades and sanitation to camps and villages. The current situation where many IDP camps are located above their water supplies is considered to impose a risk to water quality and health in the long term. It is also not practical to provide independent pumping systems to deliver water to these camps as a long term solution. Camps that are now splintering into small scattered sub-camps will exacerbate this problem. Many camps are located about 50m above and 400m distant from supplies with very steep difficult access. Access to water will therefore remain difficult unless IDPs return to villages or settle in locations below water sources. The existence of undamaged, good quality, piped water supplies in some damaged villages has not been sufficient to influence most displaced persons decisions to remain in camps on high ground. Decisions on which systems will be repaired and which new systems will need to be constructed may therefore need to be delayed until final settlement locations are decided by IDPs.

The Watsan meeting in Gizo was held on 14 May 2007. The RWSS reported that their detailed assessments on Ranongga were almost complete and that some materials, including UNICEF water containers were sent to the Shortlands with ADRA. Vella La Vella will be the next island assessed by RWSS. Oxfam has recruited an ex-RWSS employee to assist its program on Ghizo. Oxfam will also bring additional water tanks to Ghizo. It is becoming more evident that decisions on which systems will be repaired and which new systems will need to be constructed may need to be delayed until final settlement locations are decided by IDPs.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF will undertake water quality tests and train staff from Gizo hospital and NGOs. UNICEF will accompany the MoH assessment teams to determine water and sanitation needs and will provide latrine slabs and water tanks where appropriate. RWSS will also prioritize water system repairs in villages with clinics.


The Government's Ministry of Lands and Survey is currently conducting an assessment in the affected areas and is due back to Honiara this week. The Ministry has distributed a survey to communities to assess their intention to relocate. If relocation is prioritized, it may take place following a risk assessment.

A Shelter Coordination Group at the Honiara level has met twice this week to discuss standardization of plans for transitional and permanent housing. The Group is currently considering four standards plans for design of homes before a preferred design will be submitted to the TAT for consideration.

Health and Nutrition

A joint meeting was also held with Director of Health of Western Province to further discuss health interventions and future needs. It was highlighted that so far no measles cases have been reported. Access to draft DHS data was for Western and Choiseul Provinces was discussed and it is expected the data will be shared with UNICEF in June.

A detailed plan for health promotion interventions for outer islands has been finalised with Western Province Director of Health.

Twenty-six Youth Volunteers (YV) from 15 IDP camps entered the second week of a two-week youth volunteer training facilitated by the Adolescent Health and Development Coordinators and Save the Children with support from UNICEF. An assessment tool based on the 3 Pacific Starts Life Skills modules used (including HIV) will be created and pre-tested by youth volunteers in IDP camps during the workshop. After the workshop YV will be supported by SCA staff to undertake this assessment and to work with Child Friendly Spaces to deliver Life Skills activities and other youth participation activities over a three month period. Youth Volunteers will come back together after 6 weeks of work in IDP camps and at the 3 month conclusion of the project for monitoring purposes.


The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development which has now established a Tsunami Taskforce which is responsible for consolidating the results of the recent assessment. To date 16 schools have been reached receiving, with the MOE team, the school-in-a-box, tarpaulins and recreation kits. An immediate response plan will be finalized by Monday 21 May.


As vulnerabilities of communities to sexual exploitation and abuse is an ongoing concern, UNICEF is developing a poster and IEC materials to raise awareness and ensure perpetrators understand that this type of behavior constitutes a crime and will not be tolerated. UNICEF will also continue to work with the police and RAMSI this week to raise awareness on these issues.

As of 16.5.07, 21 Play safe areas have been set up in Gizo (11), Simbo (6), and Vella La Vella (4) in partnership with Save the Children. This initiative will expand to Choiseul next week with a plan of opening another 8 areas on that island. Another 10 play safe areas are being (5 complete) set up in Ranonga in partnership with World Vision and the MOE.

The Social Welfare Division (SWD), with the support of UNICEF, has commenced the new pilot model of Community Welfare Volunteers (CWV). Last week saw the completion of training for 71 CWV from some 42 communities in 8 out of the 10 affected islands. 20 community protection plans were developed and activity plans for the next month handed in to the SWD at Gizo. Next week this pilot will expand to Choiseul and Shortlands. It is hoped that this network could serve as a Social Service System pilot model for the Solomon Islands.

Guidance note for agencies and organizations working with children and families affected by the emergency has been developed by the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children's Affairs with support by UNICEF. The guidance will be widely distributed through agencies and organizations working in the areas of social services and welfare in the affected areas.

Inter-Agency Collaboration

A UN Coordination meeting (mechanism replacing the DMT) was held on the 11th of May - the main purpose being a briefing by the outgoing UNDP Recovery Advisor. Consensus was reached by all UN agencies on the need to deploy staff to Choiseul Province and an initial appraisal TOR, circulated by UNICEF, has been finalized. A consultant is now being sought to conduct the rapid appraisal on Choiseul.

UNICEF-Gizo incoming and outgoing team leaders met with Premier and Provincial Secretary of Western Province. Discussions were held regarding UNICEF 6-8 week and 6 month Emergency Plans. Discussions were held on possible monitoring mechanisms and availability of baseline statistics from Government sources.

Regular coordination meeting with Provincial Secretary and governments and implementing partners are held three times a week.

Agencies have made the following division of labour on geographical basis:

- Save the Children: Gizo, Rendova and Sassamunga (Safe Play)

- World vision: Ranonga (WATSAN and Safe Play) and Simbo (WATSAN);

- Oxfam: Gizo (WATSAN, Shelter and Health and Hygiene messages);

- International Federation of the Red Cross: Vella La Vella and Rendova (Shelter);

- French Red Cross: Choiseul (Shelter and WATSAN).

Supply and Logistics

In summary, the following supply items are being distributed to the affected populations:

Item Quantity Partner Distribution
Family tents 250 NDMO, PDC Distribution: 62 health workers (Western Province); 188 families (Choiseul and Western Province)
School-in-a-box kits 80 Ministry of Education Distributed: 5 communities
Planned: 25 next week
Recreation kits 94 (and further 50 ordered) Ministry of Education and Save the Children Planned: Approx 6,000 children in 36 schools completely destroyed and 37 schools partly damaged
Distributed: Approx 1600 children in Gizo camps
Water Bladders 5 RWSS Planned: Western Province
Emergency Health Kits 8 Ministry of Health Distributed: three kits sent to hospitals (Gizo, Shortlands (Western) and Taro (Choiseul))
Oral Rehydration Salts 30,000 sachets Ministry of Health Distributed: 3,000 sent to health centres (Gizo (Western) and Taro (Choiseul));
Planned with health promotion campaign to outer islands
Vitalita 90,000 sachets Ministry of Health 3 cartons sufficient for 300 children distributed to Ranongga, also cartons to Kolombangara and all camps on Gizo Island where 473 children are recorded as having received Vitalita. Planned: with the Health promotion campaign to the outer island
Soap 6500 bars Ministry of Health Planned: through Gizo SIA team, WASH


(1) Solomon Islands Government, Initial Recovery Strategy Paper, 7 May 2007