A Year Later, Solomons Tsunami Victims Still Living In Tents

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Villagers in Temotu Province say promised rehab hasn’t happened

By Elliot Dawea

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 6, 2014) – Almost a year on after the earthquake and tsunami struck Temotu Province on 6 February 2013, majority of those who lost their homes are still living in temporary shelters.

Santa Cruz villages that suffered the brunt of the tsunami are Venga, Nea, Malo, Nemba, Manoputi, luova and Bania.

"Where’s the shelter rehabilitation we were promised?" villagers asked when the Solomon Star visited them last month.

At Malo, villagers say they received relief supplies for three months after the disaster.

"Then everything stopped and that’s it. We have not heard from the NGOs or the government again," one villager who asked not to be named said.

Villagers say they were told the World Vision office at provincial capital Lata would spearhead the rehabilitation process.

"But where’s the rehabilitation process? We have not seen that. Instead, what everyone was talking about here were the two new hilux and a three-tonne truck World Vision has purchased and is using them here at Lata," one villager said.

"World Vision was established in Lata around 2006 but they never buy a vehicle until after the tsunami.

"For us villagers who were affected, we are still waiting for the promised rehabilitation so that we could rebuild our lives."

But the World Vision office at Lata said it would be wrong for people to think they’ve purchased the vehicles using rehabilitation funds.

"These vehicles were purchased using funds World Vision had allocated in its budget," a spokesman from the office said.

"We need these vehicles to ensure our logistics are reliable."

The spokesman said people must also understand rehabilitation is a process and it takes time.

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