23,000 affected by had weather
IAN M. KAUKUI
More than 23,000 people have lost their homes and food gardens, and they need urgent humanitarian aid, authorities say.
Director of the Disaster Management Office Loti Yates said this in interviews with Radio New Zealand International, as the bad weather persists.
Continuing rain and strong wind in the last two weeks have caused rivers to burst their banks and sweep through villages in Malaita and Guadalcanal.
The flash flooding has contaminated drinking water and destroyed food gardens.
Yates said food supplies and health and sanitation packs were needed as the risk of water and mosquito borne diseases was rising.
He said eighty percent of those affected are subsistence farmers living in rural areas.
“But the flooding will also affect people living in Honiara,” he said.
“The Guadalcanal plains are the food basket of Honiara,” the director added.
“When you look at the amount of water running through, and it has been inundated for 5 or 6 days in most cases, you will know those root crops, vegetables and everything that usually gets trucked into Honiara markets will be much less now.”
Yates said he was not new to dealing with floods, but said he’s now getting worried with what he has to deal with – and how often.
“When I first come … 15 years ago, we were dealing with floods only on the Guadalcanal plains around this time of year,” he said.
“Very rarely you’d hear of flooding in other parts of the Solomon Islands.
“But that’s no longer the case. Much of his year can be consumed dealing with floods right across the archipelago.”
“We need food and hygiene kits. Washing is a critical issue here. We need to get clean water, sanitation and hygiene because consequences of not dealing with this will have bigger consequences on the health, disease outbreaks.”