6 Apr 2014

Cyclone Ita threatens Solomon Islands

5:34 pm on 6 April 2014

As the the recovery operation gets underway on Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands following days of destructive flooding, the tropical low at the centre of the disturbance has become a cyclone.

The Solomon Islands Met Service has issued a tropical cyclone watch for several provinces, including Guadalcanal.

Cyclone Ita is a category one storm but intensifying as it moves away from the country.

Early this afternoon it was about 500 kilometres west south west of Bellona Island.

The forecast is for winds up to 30 knots and a threat of coastal flooding.

Meanwhile the country's main airport Henderson Field in Honiara has re-opened after the flooding dumped debris on the runway.

Tomorrow morning a New Zealand Air Force cargo plane is due to fly in relief supplies and emergency response staff from government agencies and aid organisations.

Our correspondent Dorothy Wickham says while the clean-up is starting, the people on Guadalcanal have a number of critical concerns.

"I think access to clean water and that the power supply comes back to normal. That [the power] has basically been achieved here in Honiara but the outskirts still have a problem. Transport, you know, we lost a few bridges. The food gardens, all the farmers have been affected so it is also an economic problem for Honiara."