6 Apr 2007

Disease threatens Solomons tsunami survivors

3:19 pm on 6 April 2007

There are increasing fears the Solomon Islands disaster victims may contract diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

Since last Monday's destructive earthquake and tsunami hundreds of people have been living in temporary shelters in the hills of Western Province and Choiseul.

The premier of Western Province, Alex Lokopio, says while they been able to get food and medical supplies to many of the people, additional personnel and equipment is needed for the construction of toilets to help counter disease and conditions such as diarrhoea.

"Because we are unable to provide good sanitation and so on. And that will be one of the major problems that we are facing with the people that we are putting on the hills and the mountains at this time."

Supplies are still being gathered in the Solomon Islands capital to send to the parts of the country affected by the tsunami and earthquake.

A government spokesman, Alfred Maesulia, says bulk supplies such as rice have not been a problem.

But other items such as cooking utensils are still needed.

He says some people no longer even have the basics.

People still have nothing with them. What they put on their body is what they [have] put on their body on Monday morning, especially those who lost everything. So that is one of the needs to that is clothing.

Alfred Maesulia says the smaller items and things such as water have been more difficult to source form one place.