Report – By PMC news desk
The international airport in Solomon Islands has reopened allowing planes carrying relief supplies to reach the flood-ravaged capital, Honiara, reports Radio New Zealand International.
The floods have severely damaged the city’s infrastructure and left 21 people dead and dozens missing.
The Solomon Star reported shop owners in Chinatown were returning at the weekend to begin the massive job of cleaning up their stores as the weather slowly improved.
Shops in the popular shopping district were flooded when the nearby Mataniko River burst its banks on Thursday, flooding the streets and building.
Stephen Diisango reported:
“Water and mud are everywhere in our shop,” one shop owner said.
“It will take us a few days to clean all these up,” she added.
“Today, we just open to clean up, not for business.”
Some shop owners opened their doors to realise huge amounts of their cargo damaged by the flood waters.
One shop owner said he was giving out the damaged goods to the public.
For the first time also, some residents returned to see what they can get from their damaged homes along the banks of the Mataniko River.
76 houses destroyed
Flash flooding, strong winds and landslides destroyed at least 76 houses and damaged 13 bridges and other infrastructure, reported RNZI.
The Mataniko River pulled houses into the floodwaters, bringing down a bridge and inundating the downtown area.
At least 12,000 people are in evacuation centres in urgent need of clean water, food and medical supplies.
Honiara’s international airport was closed after flash floods left the runway covered with debris but it has now been cleared for emergency and aid flights.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said a Royal New Zealand Air Force Hercules would leave this morning for Honiara. He said it would take supplies asked for by the Solomon Islands government last night.
McCully said a helicopter would be used to transport some of the supplies around the islands.