Should this World War II underground hospital be converted into something permanent? - Solomon Star News

Should this World War II underground hospital be converted into something permanent?

27 November 2020
Beneath the dirt is a World War II hospital, which the government can convert into a new specialised hospital. So should the government move in and take back the land because of its historical value?

THE Government will today officially open its first field hospital for COVID-19 patients in Honiara as it prepares for the unpredictability and potential spread of the coronavirus. 

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services said on Thursday that the Multi-Purpose Hall near the Lawson Tama Sports Stadium has been converted into a field hospital for COVID-19 patients.

In the exclusive photographs below, there is something worth looking into if the government is serious about finding extra permanent hospital beds for coronavirus patients. It could be Honiara’s second national hospital in the post-COVID-19 era.

In the middle of the newly-dug dirt is a foxhole leading into a large World War II hospital built by the Americans during the War. For some unknown reason, the land has been sold to private hands.

When these photos were taken yesterday the side of the hill has been cut to make way for the road being connected to the main road. It would appear the entrance to the underground hospital is being filled with sand and dirt, closing off the entrance. No one was there to explain what was happening to this historical site.

Many who have visited the site on different occasions said this disused facility could easily be refurbished and turned into the nation’s second Hospital.

Instead of hiring expensive buildings all over the city for COVID-19 isolation and quarantine stations, the underground hospital is an attractive proposition.

Perhaps the Commissioner of Lands should begin the process of resuming the site given the national historical value attached to it in terms of the underground hospital?

And perhaps in the future, it should be forbidden by law for such sites of significant historical value to fall into private hands?

By Alfred Sasako
Newsroom, Honiara