15 Jan 2010

Solomons pupils in tent schools after last week's quake

3:04 pm on 15 January 2010

Temporary school tents have been erected in Solomon Islands to replace classrooms damaged by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the region ten days ago.

Save the Children's country director for the Solomons, Niamh Murnaghan, says the immediate response assessment in the region is now complete and relief efforts are focussing on providing water, food and tarpaulins for shelter.

She says more than 200 families are living in tents after their homes were declared unsafe and some children on Rendova Island will have another week off school while temporary tent classrooms are put up.

"We have joined forces with UNICEF to put in these temporary tents so that their classes can go ahead. The school itself was built of locally available materials with a banana leaf roof. And so it's quite likely that the community itself will be able to rehabilitate the school once they've re-established themselves in their homes. But we'll keep the situation under review."

Niamh Murnaghan says the National Disaster Management Office is working on a recovery action plan which should be published next week.

She says the rural nature of the earthquake zone and the construction of houses from local materials may have minimised injuries compared to the quake of a similar magnitude in Haiti.