9 Feb 2013

More than 3,000 without shelter in Solomons amid continuing shakes

5:42 am on 9 February 2013

The Solomon Islands government has officially declared a state of disaster for Santa Cruz Islands in Temotu Province following Wednesday's 8.0 magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami that claimed lives and property.

The minister responsible for disaster management, Bradley Tovusia, made the declaration following a decision reached by the National Disaster Council on Thursday.

The premier of Temotu province says 3,100 people are now without shelter as they brave continuing shakes after Friday morning's shallow aftershock.

Father Charles Brown Beu says people fled again to higher ground after the 6.7 quake, the largest following Wednesday's 8.0 earthquakes and subsequent tsunami.

A Solomon Islands Red Cross team has taken a water purification module and a sanitation unit to Lata by boat and Father Brown Beu says the 5,000-strong population of the provincial capital urgently needs fresh water and food.

But he says the greatest need is for waterproof shelters.

"We put up temporary tarpaulins but it's no good for rain, it's just for the sun. A lot of people as we are talking are getting wet up in the bush. People are virtually - only the clothes they were wearing they were able to secure and there is no covering for these children."

Father Charles Brown Beu says the effects of the tsunami and earthquakes in more remote parts of Temotu province are still unknown.