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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 23) – The Agriculture Extension Officer in Western Province, Mr. Michael Teirara, has claimed in his assessment report that the destruction of the existing piped water supply in areas he had visited on Vella Lavella in Solomon Islands were generally very minimal.

But he, however, confirms that approximately 20 to 30 water tanks have been damaged as a result of the earthquake.

"Several tanks from Kekoso provincial sub-station and Esorolando villages have been damaged", Mr. Teirara added. "The destruction to these water tanks has forced people in the affected communities to find alternative drinking water."

He added that the current displacement of people has obviously meant that people have moved further away from usual water sources, which necessitates the need for more safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities.

Another area of great concern, according to Mr. Teirara, is the health of the people.

Mr. Teirara stressed that living conditions in the makeshift tents posed health risks due to unfavorable weather conditions, over crowding, poor sanitation and lack of proper tents.

He added that the eminent outbreak of pneumonia, malaria, dysentery and other health risks are possible diseases, which could seriously affect people living under this appalling situation.

Mr. Teirara claimed that a lot of camps that he had visited have not received tents and so the people alternatively used plastics, coconut and banana leaves as shelters mainly for the elderly, disabled and the children.

"Mosquito nets, blankets, medicine, counseling and health awareness talks are urgently needed in these affected communities", he added.

Michael Teirara has carried out an independent assessment survey around parts of Vella Lavella in the wake of the massive earthquake, which had severely devastated the Western and Choiseul provinces on the 2nd of April.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Office and Provincial Disaster Council in Gizo have deployed their officers out on field assessment missions to Ranongga, Simbo, Vella Lavella and Rendova.

Upon their return the information and data collected will be used to enhance the food relief distribution and delivery system, and the same data could come in handy for the Recovery Phase.

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