World Vision is delivering relief supplies to thousands of people affected by the 8.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated communities in the remote Temotu Province of the Solomon Islands on 6 February 2013.
Approximately 4,000 people have been impacted by the disaster and 11 people have lost their lives. World Vision is currently leading the distribution of essential items such as food, water, shelter kits, kitchen utensils, hygiene and sanitation supplies and clothes in coordination with the Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and other agencies.
The village of Bamoi was one of the worst affected areas. The whole village was washed away into a lake at the back of the village by the immense power of the tsunami. As well as houses, the huge wave destroyed the community’s water supply and their food gardens.
Bamoi community leader, Chief Charles, described what it was like before relief teams reached the area.
“We setup a camp in the hills to escape from the tsunami but then there is the 7.6 earthquake [aftershock] that causes landslides and we flee back again to the lower lands facing the threats from the sea,” he said.
“All our belongings have all been washed away in the tsunami. We are short of food supplies and basic needs whilst moving here and there.
“The feeling of trauma, confusion [and] uncertainty…is like floating in an open ocean where there is no island nearby.” Chief Charles and his community moved to Nangu District where World Vision and other agencies supplied them with rice, water, tarpaulins, kitchen kits, hygiene kits, mosquito nets and bales of cloth.
When he received the relief supplies Chief Charles cried and said “I just want to say a big thank you to you all who make this relief supplies possible.”
World Vision’s Solomon Islands Country Director Andrew Catford said he was shocked at the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami.
“Entire villages have been flattened and people’s livelihoods destroyed, it is amazing in some communities how little is left,” he said. “It is a big job to get the affected population back on their feet given the scale of the damage and the remoteness of many of the communities affected.
“However, there is hope. Nearly all communities have received initial relief supplies and plans for longer term recovery projects are underway. This is no small feat in Temotu, which is nearly 500 km from the capital, with light plane flights and ship transport only a few times a week.”
Due to the high level of poverty and lack of basic services in the province, World Vision was implementing long term development programs in the areas of education, economic development and disaster preparedness before the disaster hit.
“We look forward to providing the people of Temotu with tangible long term assistance through our existing development projects and our relief and recovery activities. We’re definitely in Temotu for the long haul,” Dr Catford said.
For further information: Christina Muge, Communications Officer, WV Solomon Islands, Phone: +677 23092.