12 May 2007

Solomon Islands' Western Province to rebuild Gizo on higher ground

9:05 am on 12 May 2007

The premier of Western province in Solomon Islands, Alex Lokopio, says the provincial executive has decided that the provincial capital will be rebuilt.

Coastal settlement in Gizo was devastated by the large earthquake and tsunami of early last month which left 52 people dead and thousands homeless in Western and Choiseul provinces.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation reports that the province plans to put all Gizo's buildings on higher ground while coastal areas will be reserved for the tourism sector.

Mr Lokopio says reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure will be based on plans by technical experts such as lands officers and physical planners.

He says planning of the town is very important, describing Gizo as one of the most unplanned towns in the country.

The Premier says the rebuilding of Gizo should begin this year.