Solomons camps to shut soon
Ten weeks after devastating floods affected fifty thousand people and killed at least 21 in Solomon Islands in early April authorities are struggling to help the homeless recover.
Ten weeks after devastating floods affected 50,000 people and killed at least 21 in Solomon Islands, authorities are still struggling to help the homeless recover.
At its peak there were about 10,000 people living in 24 evacuation camps run from schools and other public buildings.
Jenny Meyer reports.
The Secretary of the Disaster Victims Coalition, Lillian Raenaitoro, says the National Disaster Office has been handing out forms to repatriate victims from the camps. She says the government has been trying to close the evacuation centres and she's heard some have had little food. She's also particularly concerned for disabled victims and says homeless people have no idea where to go.
LILLIAN RAENAITORO: People are worried where to go after the repatriation where to build their houses. These victims are so worried at the moment. They don't know where to build houses because their homes are already washed away.
The head of the National Disaster Management Office, Loti Yates, says there are now 1300 people remaining in the evacuation camps and he says small repatriations have been happening as and when people have been ready to go. He says budget constraints on the government to maintain the camps has also added pressure to finalise a date for closure and trying to convince people to move on is one of many challenges.
LOTI YATES: Whilst we now have funds available to make sure that the repatriation starts. If we are to get them on to boats to return to their provinces of origin, we will be needing boats etc. So that again will determine whether all the camps will be cleared by the 21st of June or maybe the week later.
The head of UNICEF in Solomon Islands, Kang Yun Jong, says previous deadlines for closure of the temporary accommodation for people displaced in April's floods have passed but he believes the government has now found a workable plan. He says the National Disaster Management Office and the Ministry of Lands have allocated land in Malaita Province for resettlement by families from the area who fled to Honiara.
KANG YUN JONG: I think there are about 280 households in the current remaining four evacuation centres. And NDMO wants all the people to return to the areas of their origin by the end of this month and close the evacuation centres.
Kang Yun Jong says once the families return to the land they will be assisted with building materials for shelters and gardening kits. But Loti Yates says while the Ministry of Lands is making land available, it may only be accessible through the normal process of acquiring land where people will need to put in bids and tenders.
LOTI YATES: It is this sort of thing that the people are worried about and so have in two minds about whether they get repatriated to their province of origin or they just hang around Honiara to ensure that when these tenders do go out they can also put in their deeds etc.
Loti Yates says the NDMO is now trying to get enough repatriation kits ready and dispatched on to the boats with relief teams to help people resettle.
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