Published on 7th April 2014
Junior Ulu, VSA’s International Programme Manager, is in Honiara currently and says it will likely be months before the city gets back to normal following days of heavy rain that has shaken the country’s capital.
“With an estimated 10,000 people currently displaced by the heavy flooding, the immediate focus is going to be ensuring people have shelter, drinking water and adequate food supplies. And I know our VSA volunteers are keen to support their partner organisations and their Solomon Island work colleagues in any way they can.”
Alexa Funnell, Programme Manager in the Solomon Islands adds: “Our previous advice to volunteers was to sit tight until the immediate danger subsided. Now that water levels are dropping and the focus is on the recovery effort our volunteers, as part of a NZ government coordinated response, are doing what they can. Some are now supporting Honiara City Council, World Vision and Red Cross, while one of our Legal Advisers has been drafting an ordinance to free up money for Guadalcanal provincial government to use on the response effort.”
VSA’s CEO Gill Greer speaking from the organisation’s Wellington office today added: “In the past year small Pacific Island countries have suffered cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis, storms and flooding. These extreme events erode hard won gains, increase vulnerability and show yet again that the Asia-Pacific region is one of the most vulnerable in the world to natural disasters. Building resilience and supporting disaster preparedness is going to be critical for these countries going forward.”
“Our volunteers have and are working with partners to support such initiatives. But for now we must see how best we can support our friends in Honiara to move forward once again.”
VSA has 14 volunteers currently on assignment in the Solomon Islands, 12 of whom are based in Honiara. VSA’s Programme Manager for Solomon Islands, Alexa Funnell, is also based in Honiara.