Return to communities new focus of Solomon' flood relief
A look at the situation in Solomon Islands two weeks after the floods.
Relief efforts continue two weeks after flash floods devastated communities in Solomon Islands where it is estimated 52,000 people have been affected.
The Director of the National Disaster Management Office, Loti Yates, is coordinating the relief effort and he told reporter Koroi Hawkins that the only way out of this disaster is for people to return to their villages.
LOTI YATES: If we can get them to voluntarily agree to go back to their communities we could start clearing out the camps so we could also have schools starting and then any support that is forthcoming from the donors will come to them when they are in their villages rather than going to them in the camps.
Mr Yates says already twenty families have voluntarily returned to their communities, each with a repatriation kit containing food and water supplies as well as essential non-food items. Mr Yates says although many will want to take up the repatriation package not everyone will be able to go home.
LOTI YATES: It is possible that most dwelling houses are under half a metre thick of mud the wells are covered water systems are broken so those are some of the things which will be of concern to us because we do not want to send people back to areas which are unsafe.
Around 9400 people are still being sheltered in evacuation centres in the capital with an estimated 40 thousand in rural communities directly affected by the floods. Access to clean water is one of the main priorities of relief efforts and the Deputy Secretary General of Red Cross Solomon Islands,Clement Manuri is in charge of water delivery.
CLEMENT MANURI: As of Wednesday we have purified 367 115 Litres of water. Our water teams are still continuing with purifying and distribution of water both here in Honiara and on the Guadalcanal Plains.
But even this is not enough and World Vision Solomon Islands is flying in four more of the purification devices called NOMADs to try and meet water needs. Its country director Andrew Catford says water is but one of a long list of things that victims will not have enough of in the weeks ahead.
ANDREW CATFORD: It really has stretched resources of all the agencies and for government and for donors. And certainly the task at hand is still very large and even though there has been some very generous support theres still alot of unmet need ahead of us so certainly would request further support of people for the Solomon Islands to help them recover as quickly as possible.
It has been a fortnight since the raging waters subsided in Solomon Islands.
At least 21 have died and an unknown number remain missing
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