7 Jan 2010

Save the Children joins aid delivery drive in Solomons quake zone

2:02 pm on 7 January 2010

Tarpaulins and drinking water have been delivered to Solomon Islanders affected by the swarm of recent earthquakes as families fear returning to their homes.

Save the Children country director for the Solomons, Niamh Murnaghan, says a team of government and voluntary agency representatives returned from the affected Rendova and Tetepare Islands late last night and will return again today.

"Shelter has come through as one of the priorities. There are some houses, perhaps about twenty houses that are fully destroyed, and up to a hundred more that are in some way unsafe, either were partially destroyed or are just on a slant. People are just too scared to go back into their houses at the moment, regardless of the condition because of the number of aftershocks."

Niamh Murnaghan says one school in Boniata on Rendova Island has been damaged and she hopes repair work can be finished before children return to study in ten days.

She says landslides have contaminated drinking water in some communities.

Meanwhile, Australia is to provide up to just under 50,000 US dollars in immediate emergency relief assistance in response to the earthquakes.

The Australian Minister for Trade and Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Crean, says initial assessments suggest the earthquakes caused limited damage to housing, mainly on the western province island of Rendova.

Mr Crean says Australia is concerned for the welfare of all those affected by the earthquakes and will offer appropriate assistance to those affected.

The funding will enable the Red Cross and Oxfam to distribute and restock emergency supplies such as tarpaulins, water containers, clothing, blankets and emergency kits.