4 Jul 2007

Villagers on Ranongga in Solomon Islands seek assistance to blast channels

6:14 am on 4 July 2007

Assistance is being sought to blast channels through coral on the uplifted island of Ranogga in the Solomon Islands to provide better access to the sea for villagers.

The tsunami and earthquake, which devastated parts of the Western and Choiseul provinces three months ago, also affected Ranongga which, in some places, was lifted by up to 3 metres while the shoreline was pushed out by up to 70 metres.

The NGO, World Vision, is helping the villagers to rebuild 500 of the homes which were badly damaged on Simbo and Ranongga.

The NGO's Brett Cowling says villagers are also hoping for easier access to the sea, and about 10 to 15 channels may need to be created.

"It's certainly a challenge for those communities. The access is limited in many communities and requests have gone in to have channels re-blasted through the coral that has lifted. Requests have gone in to various military organisations that will hopefully blast those channels at some stage in the future."

Mr Cowling says the U.S. navy is due to visit next month and they may also get help from the Australian navy.