A food mercy dash to people on the Solomons' Weather Coast | Pacific Beat

A food mercy dash to people on the Solomons' Weather Coast

A food mercy dash to people on the Solomons' Weather Coast

Updated 10 August 2012, 17:30 AEST

A small flotilla of three boats is delivering urgent food supplies to the survivors of an earthquake that hit the Weathercoast of Guadacanal in Solomon Islands last month.

The people from the villages in the area have run desperately short of food.

The owner of a resort hotel on the eastern tip of Guadalcanal says the alarm was raised by a priest from the area who managed to get to her hotel.

Pamela Kimberly says the first boat she sent with supplies had to turn back because of high seas.

She explained how the private relief effort is going to Steve Rice.

Presenter: Steve Rice

Speaker:Pamela Kimberly a resort owner in Guadalcanal who has sent relief supplies to the Weather Coast


KIMBERLEY: The reason it's called the weathercoast is because the mountains come straight down to the sea and the wind is from that direction, so there's a huge surf on that side of Guadalcanal. So boats cannot land there. Those people have no communication, so very difficult place for them to live. They're out of sight, out of mind. The boat had to turn back too heavy of seas. They've gone again this morning. World Vision is helping us out with their own boat and another boat from the local people. From every report I've gotten and it's not first hand ? there is serious hardship.
RICE: How did you find out about it?
KIMBERLEY: The local Anglican priest came and begged us for help.
RICE: How long ago was the earthquake?
KIMBERLEY: The 25th July.
RICE; And what did he say had happened?
KIMBERLEY: Well, imagine that you are living in the most remote place with no electricity or food storage of any kind. The earthquake caused a landslide, it covered up the vegetable gardens and took out 26 houses. So this left people without houses. They all moved in with relatives, and no one was killed, but it left them without food.
RICE: Do you know if there've been any, did they have any food reserves at all?
RICE: And have you seen anybody from regional aid organisations or the government coming through your part of the world?
KIMBERLEY: Not yet, but I hear they're on their way. I hear they're going to do it, so I'm quite pleased about that, because they would have the helicopters, resources that we don't have. I was just trying to get them some instant food but it's taken me three or four days already and it should arrive today for certain.
RICE: So you sent a boat off from your resort with provisions?
KIMBERLEY: Yeah, two boatful of food provisions. We had an American doctor visiting and she gave 500 US dollars which we just spent for food and we sent 5,000 Solomon dollars of our own plus fuel, another 5,000 in fuel.
RICE: So you're hoping that your people will actually be able to land today?
KIMBERLEY: Yes, we will set up a camp where they will distribute food to the people who need it the most, the elderly and the children.
RICE: You're saying the place is so remote, that it's very hard to get in there. Are there any roads?
KIMBERLEY: No, no roads, no telephone, no radios, nothing, no airstrips. It's really cut off from the world. I have been over there a couple of times when the weather was really good and we had to take a boat and speed in and as soon as you land they all run and pick up your boat and carry it before the next wave comes and often little children would scream and cry because they had never seen a white person. This is a remote place.
RICE: How many people do you think have been affected by this?
KIMBERLEY: If the priest is to be believed, he said 15,000 and I thought he said 1,500, but I questioned him. He said no,, no, I mean 15,000 and I kept asking him and he kept saying 15,000.
RICE: So what sort of things did you send on the boat?
KIMBERLEY: Rice, flour. sugar, salt and their favourite noodles and canned fish.

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