People of Santa Cruz islands still need post tsunami aid | Pacific Beat

People of Santa Cruz islands still need post tsunami aid

People of Santa Cruz islands still need post tsunami aid

Updated 3 April 2013, 17:55 AEDT

More than a month after a deadly earthquake and tsunami hit Solomon Islands people there are still in need of food, water and proper shelter.

A magnitude eight earthquake hit the Santa Cruz area in February, triggering a tsunami that killed nine people.

Hundreds of houses were destroyed and about 3-thousand-5-hundred people were left homeless.

Charles Brown is the Premier of Temotu Province.

He says saltwater and sand has ruined vital farmland in low-lying areas and some of the victims are still in a state of shock.

Presenter: Iskhandar Razak

Speaker: Charles Brown the Premier of Tomotu Province in Solomon Islands


BROWN: The people are settling down very, very slowly. People are still living in tents, but they have begun to, some of them have begun to put up shelters, live shelters temporarily, temporary ones, of course. The settlers from  other islands, apart from Santa Cruz, who live in area for Lata, and at the present time they're still living in tents near the soccer field in Lara Station and what I have told everyone  was to try and move back to the area, towards the western end of the airport. They are still very worried, but definitely they told me they'll be moving very slowly. But they need tents, proper tents, not tarpaulin, and I told them that I will be talking with World Vision if they have any tents, because they have to move out from where they are before the second appointed day, that will be in June, 8th. June. 
What I can say is the people are already sort of beginning to forget what happened and have decided at least we need to move on and that's exactly what's happening at the moment.
In any case, we are still waiting for the National Disaster Management Office personnel to come up to Lata and brief us on the rehabilitation phase of the whole issue, yeah.
RAZAK: How many people are still homeless there?
BROWN: In this particular, well the area four,  the  area four is about 200 people in that particular village, that includes the children, but if we have to count all the others, they're all right around Santa Cruz. We are talking about roughly 3,000 people.
RAZAK: What's the damage, what's the damage there like now? Is it still devastated, is there still all of the wreckage that was caused still on the ground or has it been cleaned up?
BROWN: Yeah, the people themselves have since begun to clean up the debris, but it is still relatively clean, because some of the debris are need a chainsaws and things to  cut the logs and so on. But whatever people can afford to remove from their villages, they have since been able to remove, yeah.
RAZAK: You've mentioned tents, but what kind of other support is needed for the people?
BROWN: The people I spoke to yesterday night, before I left were saying that they still need water and perhaps food, that's what they told me. They said our case is special, because we are not from Santa Cruz and the area we will live in which we manage to plant some root crops and bananas, it's all covered with sand and so we are still not able to farm. That is quite different from people who own the land, because they can move to higher ground and keep planting, or, in fact, some of the root crops or sweet potatoes were never destroyed completely, like the people in Area four and I'm treating Area four as a very special case, because of the nature of the area.
RAZAK; Well, you've mentioned salt water destroying crops there. How long, do we know how long until those areas that were covered with sand could be good for farming again?
BROWN: I'm not really an agriculturalist, but I would imagine that it would take some months more before that area is fresh again. Because it's all now full of salt and the trees around there and the shrubs are all dead because of salt, salt water. 
RAZAK: And who is giving you aid, is it the Solomon Islands government, is it World Vision, is it Red Cross, whose helping?
BROWN: Yeah, the money that is available presently for relief supplies comes in from donors of assistance, including New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan and even Great Britain and, of course, the National Government of Solomon Islands. They've since donated more than six million dollars in terms of supplies, yeah.

Contact the studio

Got something to say about what you're hearing on the radio right now?

Send your texts to +61 427 72 72 72

Add the hashtag #raonair to add your tweets to the conversation.

Email us your thoughts on an issue. Messages may be used on air.