Solomon Islands

UNICEF External Situation Report Solomon Islands - 24 May 2007

Situation Report
Originally published
Tsunami-Earthquake Emergency Programme

Major Developments

The Education Sector school-by-school assessment is being finalized and suggests that the official total population affected by the joint effects of the earthquake and tsunami on 2 April 2007 may need to be revised upward. The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (MEHRD) is now verifying the results. Government earlier estimated that 11,322 people on the islands of Gizo, Ranonnga, Vella la Vella, parts of southern coast of Choiseul, Simbo, Shortlands, Munda, Rendova and Kolombangra were affected by the disaster.

Needs Assessment

The National Disaster Committee is about to release results of the Government's village-by-village assessment of all affected areas to initiate long-term recovery planning. The

MHMS initial infrastructure assessment of all clinics in affected areas should be complete by the end of this week and will identify essential equipment (radios, fridges, etc.) for rehabilitation of the Primary Health Care system beyond immediate responses already supported by UNICEF and other partners. While PHC rehabilitation is commenced, a second MHMS assessment will be conducted to determine physical reconstruction requirements for clinic buildings and staff housing.

RWSS has completed village-by-village assessments for Gizo and Shortlands and is conducting assessments for Ranonga, Simbo and Choiseul. A final report should be ready by the end of May.

The ADB infrastructure assessment focused on such features as roads, wharfs and bridges is expected to be completed by 25 May. An aide mémoire will be issued by ADB at the end of the assessment.

UNICEF Response


All camps are now at >50% of SPHERE standards for water supply as was targeted to be achieved by June 2 (10 weeks post-disaster). However, physical access (slopes, etc) to water supplies in some camps remains a problem and some camps are now splintering into small scattered sub-camps, exacerbating access to water issues. UNICEF, Oxfam, RWSS and other partners are supplying materials to improve access. 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 and authorities.

UNICEF, Public Works Department and RWSS are implementing several activities in Gizo Hospital including: repair and improvement of the water supply system; repair the rain catchment system and supply; put up a new discharge pipe (150 meters at 15 meters depth) for hospital sewages; repair the incinerator damaged by the tsunami; and train hospital laboratory staff for water quality tests and chlorination. Water quality tests training have been planned for next Tuesday and Wednesday with people from RWSS, Save the children, Oxfam, MOH, and WV. UNICEF will also provide 1000 water containers (10 litre) to Save the Children for distribution in Shortland Island.

Achieving >50% SPHERE standards for sanitation is proving more difficult. Before the disaster, many communities were using the sea and not latrines. Even though many latrines have now been constructed and their use promoted, actual use remains minimal. UNICEF is working with NGOs to strengthen personal hygiene promotion interventions. Soap is being widely distributed.

Respect for Minimum SPHERE standards in Western Province camps is being discussed with local partners and monitored by UNICEF and Oxfam. Additional supplies of soap, lime, chlorine, Aqua kits and water containers are being sought.


The Ministry of Lands and Survey 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 is currently considering four standards plans for design of homes before a preferred design will be submitted to the TAT for consideration. 999 tarpaulins from Australia are now in Solomon Islands and will be used for safe play areas, temporary learning spaces, clinics, and housing needy families, education and health staff. More shelter supplies from Indonesia are on their way to Solomon Islands.

Health and Nutrition

Final analysis of the measles campaign is expected this week but top-line results suggest coverage was greater than 95% coverage. Some supplementary Vitamin A distribution is required due to supplies not being available in some areas during the campaign. A joint meeting was also held this week with Director of Health of Western Province to further discuss health interventions and future needs. A similar meeting was held at National level to examine findings from the initial clinic assessment. 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 early June.

Two teams travelled to Rendova Island in the first Health Promotion outer islands trip (starting May 15), and another team has set out this week for Choiseul and Shortland Islands working with a health team from Taro Hospital, Choiseul. The detailed plan for health promotion interventions for outer islands involves five health promotion officers from Honiara, 3 World Vision health promotion staff and 1 health promotion officer from Gizo. The intervention is expected to last for a period of 3 weeks after which a KAP survey will be implemented to assess reach and comprehension.

Impetus is growing for further action by partners regarding concerns around asbestos. UNICEF is currently producing communication materials for children and parents on the dangers of asbestos, a WHO consultant is arriving June 5 to formulate a broad approach to the issue and funding is being sought from a variety of donors to support this plan.

Twenty-six youth volunteers (YV) from 15 IDP camps have completed 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) was 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 Education Task Force for the Tsunami and Earthquake Emergency has been established and is working to complete its assessment report. UNICEF has worked closely with MEHRD and NZAID to analyze data. The Task Force will use the report to plan a two-phase process of response and recovery.

The first phase is an initial response plan, covering approximately the next two weeks, and includes delivery of urgently-needed items to schools in categories one and two (those schools in category one are destroyed and those in category two have endured major damage). The urgently needed items include School in a Box, Recreation Kits, and Tarps to establish temporary learning spaces. The second phase is to develop and commence implementation of a 6-month Response and Recovery Plan. This Plan should be completed by the 1st of June. Other activities of the Task Force this week include the development of a press release by the on the resumption of schools as well as a Ministerial Directive to staff in school system (teachers, principals, Provincial education officers) to recommence schooling.


As of the 21st of May, 31 play safe areas have been set up and are active reaching 3,168 affected children in Gizo, Simbo, Vella La Vella and Choiseul with our partnership with Save the Children. There is a further plan of some 15 more sites including another 7 in Choiseul. Another 10 play safe areas are being (7 active) set up in Renongga in partnership with World Vision and the MOE. Children that have access to these sites are getting daily support through structure play and games aimed at increasing the healing process.

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 over 71 CWV from some 42 communities in 8 out of the 10 affected islands in Western Province. 20 community protection plans were developed and activity plans for the next month handed into the SWD at Gizo. CWV training has expanded to Choiseul and Shortlands with training facilitated by UNICEF commencing on the 22nd of May. It is envisaged that this network will serve as a Social Service System pilot model for the Solomon Islands.

At the close of last week a 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. This guidance is being widely distributed through agencies and organizations working in the areas of social services and welfare in the affected areas.

There is an on-going issue of vulnerabilities of communities to sexual exploitation and abuse. UNICEF is assisting the Government to develop press releases to raise awareness and ensure perpetrators understand that this type of behavior is a crime and will not be tolerated. Currently through our partnership with SWD, UNICEF is giving technical support in handling these cases. UNICEF with its partners (in particular SCA and WV) has redistributed the agency commitment: 'Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse'. UNICEF will continue to work with the SWD and the Police to raise awareness on these issues. Inter-Agency Collaboration A UNICEF/UNDP consultant is now conducting a rapid appraisal on Choiseul to determine what role UN agencies should play during the recovery phase.

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

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)
Tarpaulins 31 PDC 5 RWSS for use during WATSAN assessment;
School-in-a-box kits 80 (and further 100 ordered) Ministry of Education Distributed: 5 communities
Planned: 25 next week
Recreation kits 94 (and further 100 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 6 RWSS Planned: Western Province
Emergency 8 Ministry of Health Distributed: three kits sent to hospitals
Health Kits (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 (600 more bars ready for distribution) Ministry of Health Planned: through Gizo SIA team, WASH
Collapsible water container (10 ltr size) 4400 pcs (4000 more on the way to Gizo) RWS,
Wooden Educational Toys 1200 sets Ministry of Education and Save the Children