A HYGIENE specialist for UNICEF in Solomon Islands says the first cases of malaria, diahorrea and respiratory illness have been confirmed in evacuation centres following last week’s devastating floods.
At least 23 people have died and thousands of people have been displaced from their homes.
Donald Burgess says children are the most vulnerable to disease outbreaks.
He says providing clean water and sanitation in camps is a priority to avoid further casualities.
“A lot of people who are in the camps are having diahorrea, the reports are coming from there, and malaria.
“And if it is not being tackled speedily and urgently the situation may deteriorate further.”
Burgess says more help is needed to avoid a disease toll worse than the disaster itself and doctors have been seconded to some of the larger camps..
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education says at least 30 schools outside of Honiara were badly damaged in last week’s flash floods and could be closed for up to three months.
The permanent secretary, Franco Rodie, says while assessors have been unable to reach many of those schools because of damaged roads, it is estimated they will cost millions to repair.
He says the ministry hopes to work with NGOs to set up temporary schools in the meantime.
“We are going to take one step at a time, with the limited resources we have to be able to assist the schools so that they can operate again.
“We are trying all our best to reach out to the schools so that you know we are able to talk with the children and teachers who have been traumatised, and engage them in some kind of activities.”
Rodie says a further six schools in Honiara are being used as evacuation centres.
He says he hopes those people taking refuge in school halls will return to their homes by Friday, so some classes can resume on Monday.