Relief workers are rushing to villages hit by earthquakes and a tsunami in Solomon Islands as strong aftershocks continue.
The outlying Santa Cruz Islands have been declared a disaster area.
But officials say an aftershock has damaged the critical wharf at Lata, in the Santa Cruz group.
More than 130 aftershocks have hit the region since a 8.0 magnitude quake last Wednesday
The National Disaster Council says it is not possible to drive vehicles on to the wharf and all unloading of ships must be done by hand.
The wharf is a key piece of infrastructure, essential to the delivery of heavy relief supplies.
The people of the Solomons are a very resilient, hardy people.
Australia's foreign minister, Bob Carr
The Australian Foreign minister, Senator Bob Carr, has visited remote Temotu province in the Santa Cruz Islands, where entire villages were washed away.
Australia is funding a flight to take medical staff to the affected region and to evacuate severely injured people for treatment in the capital.
The foreign minister says Australia will send two AUSAID workers to assess the damage and help coordinate the relief effort.
Senator Carr says Australia is standing by to help the Solomons in the recovery process.
"The people of the Solomons are a very resilient, hardy people," he said.
"Their prime minister is determined to see that they rebuild quickly after this disaster and they've got Australia as a proven and good friend of the Solomons standing by and lending a hand."
Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, thanked Senator Carr for assistance Australia has given so far.
Pungent steam has been rising from cracks in the ground three days after the quake triggered a tsunami that killed at least nine people, destroying villages and leaving thousands homeless.
Another dozen houses were reportedly destroyed following a 6.8-magnitude tremor and another measuring 7.0 late Friday, which sent villagers fleeing to higher ground in fear of another tsunami.
Officials in the capital Honiara are struggling to get a clear picture of the extent of the damage because of a fragile communication system.
The Red Cross says food, water and shelter are a priority for quake-hit villages.
An Australian Air Force plane flew over the ravaged area on Friday and confirmed the worst damage was around the provincial capital Lata.
Authorities do not have immediate access to cargo planes capable of landing on the Lata air strip.
Emergency supplies are being shipped on a day-long journey from the Solomons capital Honiara.
"Relief operations are still going on despite the tremors and aftershocks. Water and food are the priority," said Joanne Zoleveke, the Red Cross' secretary general.
A larger vessel carrying bags of rice, water and a water purifier is expected to arrive on Sunday morning.
The first vessel to arrive - a police launch carrying medical supplies, food and shelter - reached Lata on Friday evening but could not berth until Saturday morning because of the ongoing tremors.
Volcano and seismic specialists were also being called on to analyse the significance of the steam rising from the ground in parts of the Santa Cruz Islands.
"There's a lot of unusual seismic activity," a spokeswoman for the National Disaster Management Office said from Honiara.
"The earth is clearly doing something there. We are asking for scientific expertise to provide us with some information about what they think might be happening. There are cracks and some steam and water coming out."
The first major aftershock on Friday "triggered a very small wave, this has caused some damage to Lata wharf", the National Disaster Management Office spokeswoman said, adding it was also hindering the unloading of emergency supplies.
The aftershocks have prevented villagers from returning home and they are sheltering in makeshift camps sharing limited provisions, with World Vision warning that sanitation would soon become an issue.