WORLD Vision water experts are racing to get clean water to children and their families in evacuation centres across Honiara.
“With only 60 percent of Honiara’s water supply working, and confirmation that the water supply is contaminated, there is a real risk of wide-spread disease outbreak,” said Dr Andrew Catford, World Vision Solomon Islands Country Director.
Children and their families are suffering from diarrhoea and other health issues due to a lack of clean water and adequate toilets.
With disruption to the water supply, provision of safe water is essential to prevent the outbreak of disease.
World Vision’s water and sanitation experts worked in partnership with the National Disaster Management Office, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, Solomon Water Authority, Honiara City Council and the Red Cross, to install a water purification system that can deliver up to 60,000 litres per day.
Yesterday afternoon, the group installed the water purification unit, known as a NOMAD, at Tuvaruhu evacuation centre in central Honiara.
Two evacuations centres in east Honiara, Panatina Pavillion and Festival of Pacific Arts (FOPA), were supplied with water last night.
“Distribution of water continues this morning with other evacuation centres throughout the city. With the setup of one unit for the whole of Honiara city, we expect to deliver around 50-60 thousand litres a day,” said Teddy Irumae, World Vision Water and Sanitation & Hygiene Co-ordinator.
Water supply to Honiara residents stopped last Thursday when floods damaged water pipes and infrastructure, affecting many homes and businesses. Many people had to travel to nearby streams to fetch water for cooking and swimming, while others had to buy bottled water.
Hudson Fa’arodo, who is residing with his wife and two children at Mbokonavera centre in central Honiara, said shortage of water at the centre is a real concern for them, especially the children.
“It’s a sad thing to see children cry and demand water but there’s little we can do,” said Fa’arodo.
Several evacuation centres were either without water or insufficient water supply, however the Joint Water and Sanitation team is working to get water to more centres over coming days.
The Joint Water & Sanitation team will set up another purification plant in the Guadalcanal Plains to help the estimated 40,000 people there who are affected by the floods. World Vision is planning to establish simple latrines as well as source an additional four NOMAD water purification systems.
Relief good such as soap, buckets, sanitary items, blankets, sleeping mats and mosquito nets have also been distributed to families in evacuation centres. Some 3,000 people will benefit from a distribution which commenced on Monday.
Another 3,000 people should receive similar items by the end of the week.
World Vision’s recovery efforts will focus on relief goods distribution, water and sanitation, Child Friendly Spaces and logistics and management support to the government co-ordinating body, the National Disaster Management Office.