FOOD RELIEF HEADS TO WESTERN SOLOMONS AFTER QUAKES

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Villages on Rendova Island hardest hit

By Douglas Marau HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 6, 2010) – In the Solomon Islands, the government and other non-government organizations have stepped in to support those affected by the earthquakes that struck parts of Western Province on Monday.

[PIR editor’s note: By far the largest in the Solomon Islands, Western Province is 8,573 square kilometers and has 19 percent of the population. The Western Province is considered the tourism mecca of the Solomon Islands.]

The government, after a brief meeting with the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) just hours after the earthquakes, made a swift move directing patrol boat Lata to ship relief supplies to the affected areas on Monday night.

Amongst the supplies were 200 bags of rice, 100 cartoons of water and 50 family kits.

The Participating Police Force (PPF) also donated 50 cartoons of water, 20 bags of rice and 5 bags of flour.

NDMO’s Media Officer Julian Maka’a said apart from that Red Cross has also donated 200 containers.

"The team will only be focusing on the areas mostly affected, especially villages on Rendova Island," Mr. Maka’a said.

He added that an additional batch of the assessment team also left yesterday onboard the patrol boat.

"So far there are still no latest developments but the only thing we can say is that our assessment team is on the ground and until they report back we can verify the situation," he said.

Mr. Maka’a added that the full report of the situation in Western province depends on how fast the assessment team is working on the ground.

Meanwhile, as of yesterday there were no reports of any casualties.

Reports reaching the Solomon Star from Gizo police stated that the villagers in Rendova Island have moved inland.

They were advised to move to the centre of the island to avoid landslides and big waves.

NDMO are still yet to confirm the reports of the injured tourists and their nationalities.

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