Most Solomons flood victims now out of evacuation centres
As the recovery from flooding in Solomon Islands continues just five evacuation centres now remain open.
Six weeks into the recovery from the flooding on Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands just five evacuation centres remain open.
The flooding in and around Honiara killed at least 22 and affected tens of thousands, many of whom sought shelter in the temporary camps, some of which were set up at schools.
World Vision's country director, Andrew Catford, told Don Wiseman that the majority of people have now moved on with the number of centres reduced from 25 to five.
ANDREW CATFORD: Work is in place to reduce that down to three which will probably remain with the people who come from flood-prone land or don't have somewhere easily to get back to.
DON WISEMAN: All those people have been able to return to where they used to live?
AC: Yeah those people have gone back to places where they used to live within Honiara. During the six weeks a lot of people who were in the evacuation centres were going back to their homes where they were from and cleaning up the mud and getting their lives back on track so for a reasonable number of people they could, over that period, clean up their houses and move back with some assistance from the government they received a food allowance and some assistance from them and also agencies like ours so also they could return back.
DW: There had been a suggestion at one point that the government was looking at a dedicated camp where it could be properly set up with the proper facilities. It that still likely to happen?
AC: That is still underway. So there is actually three camps which are likely to remain just because of the number of people who are in that third category of not having somewhere easy to get back to. So those three camps are existing now, they are part of a group of five camps, the idea is to close a couple and consolidate into those three and that is where those people will remain for a little bit longer while they work out the next level of solution which is either to have people repatriate back to perhaps where they came from originally - some people are from other provinces and other areas but also the government is looking at some areas within Honiara to resettle those people who come from flood-prone areas or areas where they were squatters.
DW: Other NGOs have talked about the magnitude of this disaster and how recover from it is going to take a long long time. Is that your perception?
AC: Ah yes, no it will take a while. I guess we are sort of dubbing it a one in 30 year event for Solomon Islands. The last one was in the 1980s, Cyclone Namu, which was this type of level, so it is a significant one and particularly with 52,000 people affected, it is quite a large one. So it will take longer than perhaps ones that have occurred in recent years even a tsunami last year in Temotu. I guess one of the positives dare I say of the flooding is that you know one of the main effects is a lot of mud and deluge that sort of comes onto the property and that can be cleaned up reasonably quickly. We noticed when the tsunami happened last year and you had the salt water coming in that was quite a different phenomena, it actually scorched people's land and the vegetation and from that perspective was difficult to bounce back from, you know, when a lot of people are clearing the mud from their land they can often get it back to being fairly productive fairly quickly so yes the scale of it is bigger and that will mean it is a little bit longer for people to bounce back but the sort of nature of it you know hopefully it shouldn't be too bad from that perspective.
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