6 Apr 2007

Agencies in Solomons work to improve delivery to services to disaster zone

10:26 am on 6 April 2007

Relief agencies in Solomon Islands are trying to be more efficient in their efforts to provide assistance for the thousands of people affected by monday's earthquake and tsunami.

Government authorities in Western Province say that the lack of a hospital and the absence of sanitation facilities in the hills where many people are now living in temporary shelters pose increasingly difficult problems.

There are also worries about getting food, water and other material to the displaced and injured in remote areas in the two provinces.

The secretary general of the Solomon Islands Red Cross, Charles Kelly, says the various agencies involved have developed a plan to co-ordinate their efforts.

He says the Red Cross's role will be the handling of service delivery out of the two main towns.

"Gizo will be for Western and Sasamunga for Choiseul. Ships are on their way, now loading stuff from here [Honiara] and people are already in Gizo, using smaller craft to move around in Gizo. The Red Cross is sending a vehicle plus a canoe with an outboard motor so that it will be able to manoeuvre in the lagoons."

Solomon Islands Red Crosssecretary general Charles Kelly

Meanwhile, an Australian official says it's feared up to a hundred people are still missing following the earthquake and tsunami in Solomon Islands on Monday.

An aide to Australia's foreign affairs minister says it's difficult to be sure of the numbers, but it's feared the death toll will rise above the current presumed figure of more than 30