SOLOMONS PRIME MINISTER VISITS QUAKE SITE

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Sikua assures villagers of government support

By Eddie Osifelo and Charles Kadamana HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 7, 2010) – In the Solomon Islands, PRIME Minister Dr. Derek Sikua has assured villagers affected by this week’s earthquake disaster, help is on the way.

Dr. Sikua led a high-powered delegation, which included acting Home Affairs minister Mathew Wale, to the earthquake stricken villages in Western Province, yesterday.

After landing at Munda on a scheduled Solomon Airlines flight, Dr. Sikua took a chopper to the most affected island of Rendova visiting and assuring villagers there.

"The Government will help you recover," Dr. Sikua told the villagers of Hopongo, Baniata, Retavo, and Rano, where he visited.

He said his visit was to assure the victims the Government cares for them.

Dr. Sikua’s visit was in support of the early relief supplies the Government dispatched on board a patrol boat to the affected areas on Monday.

It also came as international assistances started to sprinkle in.

Australia yesterday announced more than SB$300,000 [US$36,000] in aid to the earthquake victims.

Other international non-government organizations already operating in Western Province since the 2007 deadly earthquake and tsunami, have mobilized their officials to the affected areas.

The Catholic Church says its officials based in Gizo are already assessing the situation.

Dr. Sikua and his delegation spent last night in Munda. He’s due to visit other areas today before heading back to Honiara.

So far there were no reports of any deaths, except damages to homes and food gardens.

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