THE National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) applauds those who have taken the initiative to help themselves recover from April’s flooding disaster.
On Thursday 7 August, 96 more people from 17 families approached the NDMO and asked to be repatriated to their chosen place.
“The NDMO applauds those many flood-affected people who are choosing to use the help they are given and going forth to rebuild their lives,” director Loti Yates said.
“Together they are proving just how resilient Solomon Islanders as a people are, despite the high risk of natural disasters our country faces.
“We know it has not been easy, and completely acknowledge the trauma faced by those affected by the disaster.
“By choosing to repatriate, by and large, people have chosen a far more comfortable, sustainable and safe living situation than that of the evacuation centres,” Mr Yates said.
He said when the floods hit, the evacuation centres rose to the occasion and provided immediate shelter for displaced people.
“But this was only ever intended to be a temporary situation. We have concerns for the safety, comfort and health of those still living in these centres.
“We therefore encourage people to move out of this transitional situation, leave the evacuation centres, be self-sufficient and use the resources the government has provided to rebuild their lives.”
The NDMO and partnering organisations have distributed kits to help affected people restore their households, livelihoods and shelter.
Most repatriated families have already received some or all of their kits, and are given additional food items to assist when they repatriate.
Mr Yates said almost everyone who experienced damage, whether they lost everything or just a food garden,receive some form of support during the immediate aftermath of the floods. Displaced people are also being supporting during repatriation.
“The support items that affected people are receiving depend on the level of damage they experienced.
“Those who experienced minimal damage receive a household kit, which contains items for cooking, cleaning, sleeping, and general living.
“In addition to the household kit, those who experienced a more severe level of flooding, including those who lost their kitchens and gardens, are receiving a livelihood kit.”
The livelihood kit containsitems to help affected people restore their food gardens, so they sustain their families by providing food and even selling any surplus vegetables.
Those whose homes were completely lost during the floods are receiving a complete assistance package, with a household kit, livelihood kit, and temporary shelter kit.
The temporary shelter kit includes tools to help restore housing.
Some families are yet to receive their shelter kits, as there is currently a shortage in some materials.
The NDMO or partnering organisations will distribute these items as soon as they are available, and the families have agreed to repatriate and receive the kits from their new home.
“We strongly encourage people to not take advantage of the help we are providing by accepting goods they don’t need.
“We ask these people to please consider those who have genuinely lost all or part of their homes, gardens, and livelihoods.
“In addition to this support, tonnes of relief supplies have been shipped to Choiseul, Isabel, Malaita and Western provinces over the last month.
“Among those receiving this assistance are more than 400people who chose to return to their home villages in Malaita,” Mr Yates said.
The last boat left Monday 21 July, carrying around 100 families.
Nearly 10,000 people have been repatriated since April.
Since 19 July, around 265 families have been repatriated to a place of their choosing – either to their original home, a family home, or their home village.
“We have a wonderful culture here in the Solomon Islands, where we always look out for our family, our wantoks, and do what we can to help them.
“If a wantok is down, we do what we can to support them, and vice versa.
“Family networks are much stronger in the provinces than in Honiara. People who return to their family village can often find support through their wantok system.
“Here in the Solomon Islands, we have a village-centric way of life.
“Compared with Honiara, people in the villages have a much greater ability to find food – for example through farming, gardening and fishing – to feed their families and fend for themselves.”