News / Asia

Solomon Islands Assess Tsunami Damage

A damaged house is seen after a tsunami hit the Venga village on Solomon Islands, February 7, 2013.
A damaged house is seen after a tsunami hit the Venga village on Solomon Islands, February 7, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Phil Mercer
— Six thousand people are now thought to have been made homeless by a tsunami that struck the Solomon Islands Wednesday.  The government says at least 13 people were killed.  Charities say food and water is running low in makeshift hillside camps where villagers in the Santa Cruz Islands have sought shelter.  Another huge aftershock has again rattled the South Pacific archipelago. 

The damage inflicted by the tsunami is far worse than first thought, according to disaster management officials in the Solomon Islands.  Several people are still missing after a magnitude 8 earthquake triggered a destructive wave that swept through low-lying villages.  

At least 10 aftershocks were reported Friday, including a powerful tremor that forced villagers to flee to higher ground, although no tsunami alert was issued.  Aftershocks continued Saturday, further unsettling islanders.

Earthquake in the Solomon IslandsEarthquake in the Solomon Islands
x
Earthquake in the Solomon Islands
Earthquake in the Solomon Islands
On Wednesday, a one-meter tsunami rushed through coastal communities in the Santa Cruz Islands.  They lie in the eastern part of the Solomon Islands archipelago, more than 600 kilometers from the capital, Honiara. 

Damage to the local airstrip had prevented aid reaching stricken communities, but medical supplies and other essentials are now being delivered.

Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo visited the region Friday and declared it an official disaster zone.  His government has received offers of help from its neighbors.

Solomon Islands journalist Dorothy Wickham says Australia and New Zealand have volunteered to join the relief effort.

“These two countries might be helping out and maybe we also have the Japanese and European Union here, so I am pretty sure they will be either offering or will be asked for assistance," said Wickham. "But this is going to be a difficult one.  It is a very remote place.  Boats hardly go there and if it is bad weather it is really tough to get into the communities in that area.”  

Charity workers say several villages have been destroyed, while many others have been badly damaged.  The homeless have sought shelter in makeshift camps, where food and water are becoming increasingly scarce.  There are also concerns about sanitation and the spread of the disease. 

One aid worker said that many wells were covered by debris or had been contaminated, while water storage tanks had been destroyed and coastal areas littered with dead fish and poultry.

A Solomon Islands patrol boat loaded with supplies is expected to arrive soon, while another commercial relief vessel is due to arrive in the stricken region Sunday.

Australia has confirmed it will send a transport plane to help with the relief effort.  Its foreign minister, Bob Carr, will visit the Solomon Islands Sunday.

The Solomon Islands are home to about 600,000 people.  The South Pacific archipelago lies on the "Ring of Fire" - a tempestuous arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches that stretches around the Pacific Rim, where about 90 percent of the world's earthquakes occur.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid