Thursday, November 13, 2014

The State Of The Post-Flood Solomons

When nature hits with a force on a small country in the Pacific, it takes so much more to rebuild and restore life for the people affected than when this happens in Australia, or other larger nations.

At the beginning of April this year, a storm that built up and eventually became Tropical Cyclone Ita when it hit Queensland, devastated areas of Honiara. It caused at least 24 deaths and displaced 10,000 people.

When I was visiting Honiara at the end of May there were still 2000 people living in temporary accommodation, in school buildings and other shelters. There were discussions about relocating the cultural minority that many of these people belonged to, a long-standing battle on Guadalcanal which has caused rioting and unrest in the recent past of the nation. A potential hot pot of cultural issues, this flood has stirred up again.

The physical devastation was very visible - particularly from the vantage point of the US War Memorial, but also along the river that was hit the hardest. The ruined buildings all along the river that flooded were in complete disrepair. The local community have needed to made a makeshift crossing over the river, to temporarily replace the bridge that was washed away and now being rebuilt, to allow their daily commute to and from that side to continue in the meantime.

I was lucky enough to attend a morning tea with my friend Fi, of a group of women working hard to assist the displaced community as much as possible. They were working on support through basic needs, like blankets, nappies for babies, and women's sanitary supplies.

I have looked for an NGO still working on support, and providing assistance to those in need in Honiara and the surrounding area, to promote and add to this post. I have had confirmation from Baptist World Aid Australia that they are still taking donations and helping the people that most need it - you can drop a few dollars their way here, to help.

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