Over 12,000 Affected By Severe Flooding In Solomon Islands

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Waters damage gardens, crops, homes and infrastructure

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 4, 2013) – An estimated population of 12,273 and 2,055 household were affected by severe flooding that hit parts of northeast Guadalcanal over the weekend in the Solomon Islands.

That was according to a report the Guadalcanal Provincial Disaster Committee compiled after visits to the affected area.

The report said Ghaobata, East Taimsboko, Vulolo and Paripao wards are affected by this flooding.

Komukama village, the reported added, was still not reachable because of heavy flooding still persisting.

The Balasuna bridge, the report said, was broken from the eastern approach, distance apart is about four meters.

The flooding destroyed food gardens, commercial crops, homes, public infrastructures and other civic amenities.

"Access to and from town still limited to villagers due to the damaged bridges as well as flooded rivers," the report said.

"Our three teams have covered areas from Balasuna to Bokokimbo. Most of the communities along these rivers are flooded," it added.

"We are still awaiting confirmation from the police and National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) for an aerial survey.

"Our assessment teams have come across security threats on Monday at Berande Brige when a group of boys blocked the bridge and demanded money.

"Police in response to the situation apprehended three boys who are armed with bush knives and brought them to Tetere Police Station.

"They were questioned at the Station before being released."

The report added two houses, one at Tetupa Village and another at Tenavutu village including all belonging, were washed away by floods.

"One person was injured (fracture on the neck) during the flood according to Good Samaritan Hospital report

"Flooding on Monday morning was much more worse than the past few days according to phone calls received from villagers from Berande and Balasuna

"One Guadalcanal Province three-tonne truck was garaged at Berande because it cannot cross the bridge

"Food shortage already experienced, and is expected to get worst in the coming days

"Request was sent to GPPOL (Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Ltd.) in the form of a written letter as well as a phone conversation by the provincial premier to the company manager, soliciting the engagement of their machinery to remove debris stuck under bridge, but there’s still no response from the company.

"Guadalcanal Province executive held an extra-ordinary meeting to deliberate on the emergency situation," the report said.

It said the Good Samaritan Hospital was facing problems to transport their patients to hospital.

On Monday, it was reported that the western end of Balasuna was cut again and river now slowly moving towards Dadave Village.

The bridge is now in the middle of the river after both ends were cut off.

"A notice was seen near the bridge today stating ‘Government must pay first before repairing the bridge.’

"Sick patients needing medical attention on Monday were seen stranded on the other side of Balasuna Bridge

"An assessment team sent to the Weathercoast was still in Marau because of very rough sea

"Members of IDA teams include GP Agriculture, Health, Works, GP Police, PRT and Mechanics from Police HQ, Lands, RDP, Provincial Administration and World Vision SI."

The report said at this stage, international assistance is not required yet.

It added that most people habituating along these three river systems are affected, as well as food gardens situating along the river deltas prompting food shortage situations in the affected communities.

"All water sources confirmed to be contaminated due to flood inundation.

"Although no report of disease outbreak is reported as yet, it is expected that the situation will give rise to diarrhoea and other water borne diseases soon.

"Water is now becoming an issue according to assessment reports.

"Too much water on the surface will also create a good breeding place for malaria and dengue parasite carrying mosquito and thus may increase malaria and dengue cases.

"Access by road is now a challenge because of the damage cause to bridges.

"A Detailed Sector Assessment (DSA) will be vital for the area. Security of officers engaged will also be vital if any DSA or Food Relief operation be effected based on Monday’s experienced."

The report recommended additional budget funding requested from both Guadalcanal and national governments to support disaster operations.

It said immediate food relief to most affected communities is urgently required.

The Ministry of Infrastructure Development is requested to quickly assess and clear debris from bridges and also reconnect bridges for accessibility

GPPOL to asked to support with the exploitation of its resources to restore road access

The report also recommended emergency evacuation of very sick patient using helicopters to Good Samaritan if required.

Guadalcanal police are requested to continue surveillance of the situation and report on situation arising.

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