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Aid Comes Slowly to Solomon Islands Tsunami Survivors


Aid workers in the Solomon Islands say survivors of this week's tsunami are facing growing health risks as a lack of resources hampers relief efforts.

At least 34 people were killed when a magnitude 8.0 earthquake sent giant waves crashing into the isolated western region of the South Pacific archipelago on Monday.

Officials say more than 5,000 people are homeless, and hundreds remain camped on hills overlooking their devastated villages. Many others are still missing.

Health officials estimate that up to 50,000 people may be affected by the tsunami.

One Red Cross official, Red Cross delegate Douglas Clark, said it was difficult to know just how many were missing or homeless because many people are too frightened to go home.

Relief workers say drinking water is in extremely short supply in the Western Province's main town of Gizo, a town just 45 kilometers from the epicenter of the quake. They also say many children in the town are starting to get diarrhea.

New Zealand has sent transport aircraft with tents and tarpaulins, and has delivered water to the island of Munda, which was also hit by the tsunami.

Australia has promised more than $1.5 million in aid, and the United States has released $250,000 in disaster assistance funds. The New Zealand government and the United Nations have also offered assistance.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.