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Solomon Islands: In the Wake of the Tsunami

By Sue Richards — last modified Feb 14, 2013 03:31 PM
Contributors: REUTERS/World Vision/Handout, OceansWatch Newsletter
On Feb. 6, a powerful 8.0 magnitude earthquake set off a tsunami measuring around 0.9 metres (three feet) that hit land near the town of Lata on Santa Cruz island, swamping some villages and the town's main airport as residents fled to higher ground.

Published: 2013-02-14 00:00:00
Topics: Environment , Weather
Countries: Solomon Islands

The magnitude eight earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed at least 10 people on the main Santa Cruz island of Ndende, injured others and wiped out homes, displacing thousands. It's believed that 15 villages and about 6,000 people have been affected.

Relief efforts have been hampered by more than 130 aftershocks, at least nine of them larger than 6.0 magnitude and two above 7.0 magnitude. In addition, Lata's wharf was damaged by the initial disaster and the tremors that followed, meaning that aid delivered by ship must be offloaded by hand.

The Solomon Islands Red Cross Society (SIRC) says the destruction of vegetable gardens, fruit trees, livestock and poultry will affect local food supplies, threatening food security in the coming months and even years. Trees that produce breadfuit - a staple food - are already withering because of exposure to salty seawater, it said. "It will take 15-plus years for new trees to be able to sustain the food needs of the people," the Red Cross said. "It is inevitable that, in the medium to long term, food supply to these communities must be sustained from external sources."

OceansWatch provides Tsunami relief

OceansWatch Solomons Islands directors have quickly stepped up to help victims of the catastrophe. OceansWatch already has a program in the area but this tsunami may change the work priorities.

Chris Bone, OceansWatch founder, reports that 2 OceansWatch Solomon Islands directors are already in Lata. Dr Simon Salopeke is volunteering at the hospital and Lawrence Nodua is helping restore telecommunications. Ben Angoa, a Community Health Nurse arrives Saturday to assist too.

OceansWatch members are also keen to help. The plans is for 2 OceansWatch Expedition lead yachts supported by about 5 OceansWatch member's yachts to head to the area as soon as the risk of hurricanes has dissipated. Chris Bone says that the help OceansWatch provides will be more about long term resilience than “Aid” which is covered by other organisations, more suited to the role.

Find out more at http://www.oceanswatch.org/

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