Press Release – UNICEF
Solomon Islands Flooding Numbers Affected Could Continue to Rise Donate at: www.unicef.org.nz/solomon%2Dislands UNICEF NZ is continuing to monitor the ongoing situation in the Solomon Islands as the Government there declares a state of emergency for Honiara City and Guadalcanal …Solomon Islands Flooding – Numbers Affected Could Continue to Rise
Donate at: www.unicef.org.nz/solomon%2Dislands
UNICEF NZ is continuing to monitor the ongoing situation in the Solomon Islands as the Government there declares a state of emergency for Honiara City and Guadalcanal province. Recent reports estimate that up to 18,000 people could have been displaced so far.
Donald Burgess, Water, Sanitation and Health Specialist for UNICEF in the Solomon Islands said from the capital Honiara, “Following the heavy rains and the earthquake on Friday night, the fear factor for most people is very high. As rains eased off momentarily today, more people will continue to arrive at one of the 14 official evacuation centres currently set up.
“The biggest challenge for UNICEF in the coming days will be ensuring that systems are set up at these centres so that the people there have access to safe water and sanitation. Some of the schools being used as evacuation centres currently only have 4 or 5 toilets and are not built to withstand a sudden influx of people such as this.”
Dennis McKinlay, UNICEF NZ Executive Director added, “As we await damage assessments and requests for official assistance, it is quite clear that initial needs will be focused on access to safe water, food and shelter for the thousands of people scattered throughout evacuation centres as well as those that have not yet been able to reach shelter.
“Structural damage to crucial infrastructure will prove challenging in trying to get to the people that need urgent help. And little information has become available on the status of provinces other than Guadalcanal, which means many others could be in grave need. Honiara International Airport also remains closed.”
On Friday, Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, announced an initial package of support for people affected by the floods including NZ$50,000 for the Head of Mission to support immediate local needs and NZ$250,000 to provide relief to displaced people through agencies working on the ground.
Mr McKinlay concluded, “While we are certainly pleased to hear of the NZ Government’s contribution to the emergency relief effort, the scale of this emergency means that we will continue to need funding from our supporters in order to be able to help those that have been through and lost so much in the last few days. Please donate at www.unicef.org.nz/solomon%2Dislands”