Honiara, 16 December, 2016 The Solomon Islands Red Cross Society is on the ground in the two provinces worst affected by last Friday’s earthquake, distributing emergency aid and assessing people’s needs.

Seven trained emergency responders, including water, sanitation and hygiene specialists, are in Makira Province helping to produce and distribute clean and safe drinking water with a NOMAD water purification unit. They are also distributing tarpaulins, shelter toolkits and water containers.

And in South Malaita, four trained volunteers and staff are assessing people’s needs, and distributing tarpaulins, shelter toolkits, and water containers.

In total the Red Cross has sent 400 tarpaulins, 300 shelter toolkits and 1,100 10-litre water containers to the affected areas.

All teams are working alongside the Solomon Islands government, which is leading the response to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which killed a nine-year-old child in Guadalcanal and impacted almost 9,800 people.

Secretary General of the Solomon Islands Red Cross Society Joanne Zoleveke says her teams are finding there is more damage than first thought.

“At the moment we have teams on the ground distributing emergency relief items to 200 families in Makira province and 100 families in South Malaita. As well as giving practical help, our focus is to get as much accurate data as possible from the initial damage assessment with a particular focus on shelter and water, sanitation and health,” Ms Zoleveke says.

“Initial damage assessments are currently being conducted in Makira, Malaita and Guadalcanal provinces. All assessment teams were deployed with smartphones to collect data and assessment teams to Makira Province.”

Ms. Zoleveke says shelter will be an ongoing need and the Red Cross is looking at analyzing the data received carefully to see if more shelter kits will be sent on the next boat. She says there is still anxiety among the communities because of the continuous after-shocks being felt on a daily basis.

“A lot of people are still scared because tremors are still continuing. Even in Honiara there is at least one tremor each day this week.”

The Solomon Islands government estimates 9,000 people have been impacted by the earthquake across 3 Provinces, Makira, Malaita and Guadalcanal. In total, 246 houses have been destroyed and 193 damaged. Twenty-one schools and 4 medical clinics have also been damaged by the quake, and the water supply to two communities has also been destroyed.

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Media contacts

In Honiara:

  • Joanne Zoleveke – Secretary General, Solomon Islands Red Cross Society | Mobile: +677 724 6054 Email: secgen@redcross.org.sb
  • Cameron Vudi – Community Disaster Risk Manager, Solomon Islands Red Cross Society  Mobile: +677 749 3037 Email: disastermgr@redcross.org.sb

In Malaita:

  • Kennedy Waitara – Dissemination & Communication Officer, Solomon Islands Red Cross Society  Mobile: +677 738 8152 Email: dissemination@redcross.org.sb