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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Tsunami updates from the Solomon Islands

The number of deaths reported from the three islands of the Central region of Western province in Solomon Islands stood at 22 before lunch with the figure expected to increase.

SIBC's Leni Dalavera quotes the Red Cross Field Officer in Gizo Rove Sipuru as saying that nine people died from Nusabaruku island, few meters away from Gizo main island, another nine from Simbo, two from Gizo and two from Ranongga.

Many of the people have been swept away by the waves while others were trapped under falling houses.

Mr Dalavera also quotes a villager of Titiana as saying that two children have been found under rabbles and some may have been buried yesterday. This however was not officially confirmed by authorities.

He says the entire village was swept away by high seas and people moved to a hill behind the village and are now too traumatised to return to their village.

Meanwhile Red Cross in Gizo had distributed basic necessities such as tents, cooking pots, and other food assistance to people who have been evacuated to Gizo from nearby villages. A thorough assessment will be carried by Red Cross Field officers today on islands which were covered in their initial assessment yesterday.

In a related news, another earthquake of magnitude 6.4 on the richter scale has hit Gatokae and the surrounding areas of Marovo Lagoon in the Western province at about 10:20am (SI time) this morning.

Reports that were conveyed to the SIBC, from a person living on Gatokae island say the people of Paeava village in Marovo say the quake was as bad as yesterday. No damages have been reported.

According to the US Geographical Survey Website, the quake was measured at 6.4 on the richter scale and was positioned at 93 kilometres Southeast from Gizo.

This is the 29th earthquake to have struck the Western Province since the one that first hit the area just after 7.30am yesterday morning.

In a positive response to the unfortunate disaster that struck the western Solomons, Overseas aid assistance is now starting to pour into Solomon Islands.

The Australian Government has made an initial offer of up to one million US dollars in emergency and reconstruction assistance to the Solomon Islands Government.

The International Red Cross says it will send 53-thousand US dollars to the Solomon Islands Red Cross. It says the money will go towards damage assessments and the purchase and delivery of relief supplies.

The Catholic agency for justice, peace and development or CARITAS has pledged ten thousand dollars towards immediate relief assistance for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami.

It says that through its contacts it has learned of significant destruction, with two villages near Gizo, Nusabaaruka and the fishing village, where around 200 people had been living, have been completely destroyed.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand government are to meet today to discuss what assistance it can offer.

Source: SIBC

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