“There is no immediate answer to this issue of relocation. It needs careful decisions and the national disaster council together with relevant government authorities are yet to decide on this issue,” NDMO said in response to questions the Solomon Star put to them yesterday.
NDMO added that how soon people living at the evacuation centres will leave depends on how fast the repatriation process will take.
The office said that the public must take note of the fact that some families completely lost their homes and belongings, while others are scared to return because of fear and trauma.
“These are the issues the NDMO is dealing with and it will take time to sort these problems out,” NDMO stressed.
The disaster office further highlighted that occupation of the evacuation centres depends on the ongoing repatriation process and how fast people are repatriated back to their communities.
It added it is not an easy process and NDMO is working hard to get people back home as soon as possible.
The office however, admitted it is not an easy task as it involves a lot of negotiation with victims.
The NDMO said it is continuing to assist those who are willing to return home.
Latest figures obtained from the NDMO office as of 13th May revealed that a total of 4358 displaced peoples are still staying in the camps which are operational.
The disaster office said out of initial figures there were about 10,092 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) living in 27 Evacuation Centres on both Honiara and Guadalcanal.
However, NDMO said as of 24th April, they have started a voluntary repatriation exercise that contributed in the great reduction of the numbers of Evacuation Centres and the IDP populations.
“Since then most of the Evacuation Centres were closed and only 10 of them are currently in operational.
“As of yesterday evening (13th May), the records from the NEOC on the Evacuation Centres noted that only a total 4,358 population still remain living in the Evacuation Centres, this indicated that only 43% of IDPs still residing in the Centres,” NDMO added.
Meanwhile, the Director of NDMO Loti Yates said the reduction of the number of populations in the Evacuation Centres is a positive step to the continuous rehabilitation process as it will very much reduce the risks present in the Centres, which include health, social and security risks.
“Moreover, it is encouraging to see repatriation is on-going as the conditions in the Centres are not meant for residency, hence, by repatriate; people have the opportunity to start rebuild and continue with their lives,” Mr Yates said.
Mr Yates again stressed that relocation is not a simple or easy process.
“It takes time and money to do it. At this stage, government is trying to find solutions to this issue before it can find out the cost of this exercise.
“It involves a lot of work before we know how much it will cost,” Mr Yates added.
By DANIEL NAMOSUAIA