Flood victims threaten revenge - Solomon Star News

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Flood victims threaten revenge

13 June 2014
Author 

FLOOD victims reportedly issued threats against disaster management staff as tension mounts over the plan to close evacuation centres this weekend.

Emergency authorities are running out of funds and are encouraging 1,500 people still living at the FOPA village to return to their home provinces.

FOPA was the only remaining centre after others, set up by the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) in the aftermath of April's devastating floods, were closed.

NDMO director Loti Yates told Radio Australi some members of his staff have been threatened personally and there have been threats to burn down the NDMO's offices.

Mr Yates says people in the centre were told two weeks ago that they would close this Sunday.

"It is now seven or eight weeks since the event and what has come out of all this is that people are not attempting to look at alternate [accommodation]," he said.

"We are looking at an option to repatriate all of them back to their province of origin, their villages.

"This is also due to various other reasons, reasons to do with land issues they can't return to the area where they were living prior to the floods - there is some ordinance passed by the Honiara City Council restricting building in places like that."

Mr Yates says the Government will provide funds to relocate people to their home provinces but he acknowledges that people may have come to Honiara to find work that was not available in their rural villages.

"That is a decision that an individual has to make. They have to make some sacrifices," he said.

"We understand that a lot of them moved into town because of job opportunities but right now the government is saying we cannot continue to look after you in the camps."

Mr Yates says families need to decide whether to separate so the breadwinner stays in Honiara while the rest of the family goes back to their province of origin.

"The breadwinner [could] then look at an alternate area when he, she could accommodate his or her family later on - that's their responsibility," he said.

Mr Yates says there has been a lot of resistance to moving from the evacuation centres because of incorrect rumours that money would be available or land would be allocated.

There are limits to how far we can go to help and people must now be taking responsibility to look after themselves.

Mr Yates says food and water will still be available for people who stay in the centres after Sunday.

But he says the major issue is that there are no funds left to continue to supply temporary accommodation.

"We need to, somewhere along the line, [have] some sort of limitations," he said.

"There are limits to how far we can go to help and the people must now be taking responsibility to look after themselves.

Mr Yates says he would to stress that people should take what is on offer because the NDMO is running out of ways to continue supporting the camps.

He says the package on offer is as attractive as possible so people can go back to their communities and start building proper houses.

Mr Yates says as well have having their boat fare paid, people going back to their communities will be given food and non-food items, livelihood and shelter kits so they can go back to their villages of origin and start rebuilding.

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