21 May 2013

Solomons tsunami refugees forced back to seashore

3:21 pm on 21 May 2013

Residents of Santa Cruz island in the Solomon Islands province hit by earthquakes and a tsunami in February have been forced to return to their flattened coastal settlement.

At least 10 people were killed and thousands displaced after a magnitude eight quake generated waves that smashed through seaside villages of Temotu province, destroying homes and infrastructure.

Temotu's premier, Father Charles Brown Beu, says about 600 people have had to return to the coast because there is nowhere else for them to live.

"They really are not comfortable, I understand that, even I'm not comfortable with it myself. But we're banking on this situation that the tsunami doesn't come back in a number of years and so on. I don't know how true this would be but that's what the experts have told us and we're banking on their advice."

Father Charles Brown Beu says a government pledge to find alternative land for the refugees has not materialised.