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(WNN) Honiara, Solomon Islands, Pacific Islands, OCEANIA: Prolonged heavy rainfall on the heels of a tropical depression on April 3, 2014 has resulted in severe flooding in the Solomon Islands capital city of Honiara in the island of Guadalcanal.
Included throughout the total region that encompasses 300 separate islands and 74 different languages. damages have hit Isabel, Makira and Malaita provinces where extensive flooding has impacted and/or displaced up to 52 thousand people. The damages include homes that have washed away along with unpassable roads and bridges. Half of those who have been displaced are children, says the IFRC – International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies who are now working on-the-ground to provide shelter and aid.
26 evacuation centers in the city of Honiara are now working with the Solomon Islands NDMO – National Disaster Management Office to collect food for shelters which currently are housing and working to feed 12,000 people.
In the past six days the rising flood waters have caused 23 confirmed deaths with 25 missing persons.
“There is a big shortage of [clean] water in the city,” said Graham Kenna who has come from Brisbane, Australia for Save the Children. “We are terrified of the outbreak of disease,” he continued.
“The roads were severely damaged. The bridges are damaged….we haven’t been able to ascertain the extent of the damage,” Kenna added saying that it’s been hard to even reach those who need aid in the region.
It is expected that the number of those who are missing or dead will rise as relief efforts work to move deeper into areas where it is hard to reach people.
“We’re going to have disease. It’s started already,” continued Kenna.
The sewage and public water system in the city of Honiara has caused the vital need for clean water to be compromised. Sanitation for those left after the devastation of the flooding is also at great risk.
Another area of concern is that disease may begin to break out in the most crowded shelter camps including the Panatina Pavilion in east Honiara. Panatina Pavilion is over flowing with over 3,500 people in urgent need for clean water, food and non-food items, including clothing, blankets and mosquito netting.
An outbreak of dengue fever is one of the biggest worries for relief efforts, who are also seeing an increase in diarrhea outbreaks in camps where sanitation is extremely challenged. Extreme mosquito infestation in the region is also a major concern.
NGOs – Non-governmental agencies who have jumped in to give relief include Save the Children, World Vision, SIRC – Solomon Islands Red Cross Society and Oxfam.
With overcrowding and unstable stress-filled conditions security for women, along with outbreaks of violence, is also a concern. Because of this Solomon Island police forces have been given an official order to provide security for all evacuation centers.
In addition to those at Panatina Pavilion, 1,000 additional people are now seeking shelter at the airport terminal and King George VI School in Honiara.
Because numerous roads and transportation byways have been destroyed by the rising waters, aid response teams continue to have trouble reaching specific communities on-the-ground.
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