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.
    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

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora