4 Apr 2007

Solomons Red Cross worried about long term effects of tsunami

11:33 am on 4 April 2007

The Solomon Islands Red Cross secretary-general, Charles Kelly, says it's the long term effects of the earthquake and tsunami that his organisation are most concerned about.

Mr Kelly says the relief supplies reaching some areas is only a short term solution.

"But in the long time, they need to be revisited and infrastructure is also needed to be visited because that is where the growing concern is because some of the schools are also affected."

Charles Kelly says his team has already delivered emergency supplies to the Gizo surrounding islands, Western Simbo, and Arranaga.

The premier of Western Province, Alex Lokopio, says they are struggling to mobilise teams to all the affected areas because of a fuel shortage in the area.

He says today they will continue to organise transportation to various areas where there are landslides, reports of missing people.

There are a lot of people who are homeless at this time but we have been trying our very best since yesterday to get to those places but we have been affected by the fuel shortage at this time.

Alex Lokopio says there are reports of assistance from New Zealand and Australia which he hopes will reach there soon.

Solomons Deputy Police Commissioner, Peter Marshall, says a flight over the island of Gizo has revealed even more devastation.

He says there have been small pockets of people signaling the airplane and his team sighted two bodies off an island.

In terms of the deaths we have been able to substantiate to some degree or rather, it is still about 20 or 21. However, we have extreme areas in the Western Province and very remote villages and we really do not have an accurate handle, if you like, in terms of how many people have perished or have been seriously injured.

The Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has called for more information before deciding what further aid needs to be provided following Monday's earthquake and tsunami.

More than 20 people have been killed and thousands more have been left homeless.

Aerial surveys of the disaster area have been conducted, but Mr Sogavare has ordered disaster officials to also conduct a ground survey.

There are already reports of water shortages, crops ruined and buildings flattened.

Officers from the New Zealand and Australian aid agencies are already on the island of Gizo, assessing the damage..