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Tina River on Weathercoast leaves 2,000 hungry

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 22, 2009) – Villagers of Guadalcanal’s Weathercoast saw the second biggest flooding of the mighty Tina River at the weekend, a resident there said.

The flooding, according to Poisuhu villager Allan Mbakachika, had swept away food gardens, leaving about 2000 people without food crops.

Mr. Mbakachika said the heavy downpour at the weekend woke Tina River to cause severe flooding, affecting 30 communities there.

"It is the second biggest flooding we have seen besides the one that occurred in 1986 during cyclone Namu," he said.

He said some 30 communities from Vatungola to Savuna are now in disaster. Mbakachika said food gardens that remained are covered in water and are rotting away.

He added it would take some four to six months before new gardens would be ready for harvest.

"All our food gardens, cash crops and farms have been swept to the sea. Now you can see women aimlessly carrying bags in the morning trying to find where to get food for the day," he said.

He said communication difficulties and bad weather in the area hindered a prompt call for request.

"Now that the weather allowed us to reach Honiara, I urged the National Disaster Management office to send an assessment team to the area," Mbakachika said.

He said he had written to the National Disaster Management Office, their Member of Parliament and the Guadalcanal Province, informing them of the situation.

"The Weathercoast communities contribute a lot to this economy through high production of copra and cocoa each year, so now it’s time we need help," he said.

The National Disaster Management office could not be reached yesterday for comments.

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