Flood disaster claims 18

The flooding has left about 10,000 people homeless in Honiara alone.
The flooding has left about 10,000 people homeless in Honiara alone.
Tens of thousands of people in and around the Solomon Islands' capital Honiara have been left homeless by flash flooding and heavy rains.

Entire communities had been swept away, major access bridges had collapsed and roads had been destroyed with areas of the city isolated by the destruction, charity organisation Oxfam said.

About 14,000 people and 14 communities had been affected by the flooding in Honiara, with 12,000 people seeking refuge in 16 evacuation centres set up around the region.

The death toll was at 18 and 30 people were reported as missing, with numbers expected to rise, Oxfam's Solomon Islands' country director Katie Greenwood said.

Another 37,000 had been affected by the flooding in Guadalcanal province.

Oxfam was providing support to the Red Cross to manage the evacuation centres, which had been inundated with people, Ms Greenwood said.

"Around 20 per cent of Honiara's population are now in the evacuation centres, with 3500 in just one centre alone.

"We are facing enormous numbers here. The centres have been inundated with people who have lost their homes and their communities," she said.

Oxfam was also providing technical support and assistance, and remained on standby to help the National Disaster Management Office carry out disaster assessments of the region.

"We have relief items ready for distribution, and we are working to identify how we can support life saving efforts in the next stage of the government's response to this disaster," Ms Greenwood said.

- Herald on Sunday


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