Food collected for flood-hit Solomons

Anglican priest Ivica Gregurec (rear left), and Dunedin Solomon Islands Community members (from...
Anglican priest Ivica Gregurec (rear left), and Dunedin Solomon Islands Community members (from left) Endu Alepio, Irene Hundleby, and Joy Breward, are collecting food and supplies to help the people of the disaster-struck Solomon Islands. Photo by...

Dunedin's Solomon Islanders are rallying together to find help for their people after the islands were devastated by severe flooding.

The flooding killed at least 23 people and displaced thousands more.

Dunedin residents Joy Breward, Irene Hundleby and Endu Alepio all have family affected by the disaster.

Anglican priest Ivica Gregurec, who has worked as a missionary in the Solomons, said about 70% of his former parish was now under water.

''The people are suffering. Their gardens have been destroyed. For three or four months, the people will have nothing to eat,'' he said.

Most Solomon Islanders relied on their gardens for food. Losing these was akin to a New Zealander being cut off from the supermarket, he said.

Contaminated water meant disease was rife. The flooding had destroyed a lot of infrastructure, leaving isolated communities cut off from aid.

Dunedin's Solomon Islands community, which consists of around 15 people, is working together to collect supplies to send to their homeland.

The group has already collected some items and is looking for donations of canned and non-perishable food, summer clothes, blankets, bedding, and medical supplies.

The group hopes to send a shipping container full of supplies as soon as possible.

It hopes to distribute the items directly to people without going through too many agencies.

''We want it to be done by people, for people,'' the Rev Gregurec said.

• If you want to find out more about how you can help, contact Joy Breward (027-330-1906), or Ivica Gregurec on (022-319-6709), or visit the Dunedin SI Floods Help Facebook page.

- by Jonathan Chilton-Towle 

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