By TERENCE ZIRU
A MOTHER is dead while her daughter survived after they were buried by a tragic landslide early Tuesday morning in Gizo, Western Province.
The landslide came after days of heavy rain at the provincial capital.
A teacher by profession, she was the wife of the commandant of the Gizo Correctional Service.
Her husband and two sons escaped the landslide, which occurred between 7am and 8am.
Police, Correctional Service officers and members of the public worked through torrential rain and strong winds to reach the mother and daughter, but were only able to get the daughter out alive.
The teenager is in a stable condition at the Gizo hospital.
The mother was eventually found but she had suffered a blow to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The slip took place at Malakerava and covered part of the living quarters of the Gizo Correctional Services.
Provincial police commander Mathias Lenialu said the incident was the worst in the island's history.
"We have been experiencing landslides but only they damaged the gardens, food gardens and all these things but not taking away any life,” Lenialu said.
The Malakerava landslide was one of several to have happened on the island yesterday.
Lenialu said even while he was at the scene of the tragedy he was getting calls of more landslips and flooding on other parts of the island.
At about 7.15am, a portion of landmass from the ridge on which the premier’s residence was located broke off and slid into the Gizo Correctional Service compound downhill.
It forced its way into the residential quarters and brought down the house the commandant was occupying.
The previous night, residents on and along hillsides were evacuated due to the history of small landslides in the area.
With most of the hill top areas of Gizo town made up of red clay, they were prone to landslides.
The scarcity of land in the township has led to residential homes being built on risky areas prone to disasters.
All Correctional Service families have vacated their homes for safety.
Meanwhile, Lenialu thanked members of the public, officers of the CSSI and his officers for the dedication and work done to rescue the daughter and the retrieval of her mother’s body.
“On behalf of all the police officers in the Western province I would like to convey our sincere condolences to the family and relatives for the loss of their beloved wife and mother.”
PPC Lenialu called on all people in the Western Province including boat travellers to take extra precaution as the province continues to experience bad weather.