17 May 2014

Honiara hit by looting

5:08 pm on 17 May 2014

Parts of the Solomon Islands capital are in lockdown after looting and vandalism in eastern Honiara on Friday night in which a shopping centre was extensively damaged..

It is believed the building was set alight after flood victims in a now-closed evacuation centre demanded payments from the government..

The Solomon Islands capital was devastated by last month's flooding disaster which killed 22 people, destroyed homes and properties, and severely disrupted the lives of more than 50,000 people on Guadalcanal..

Ground reports say some local people have become frustrated at the slow delivery of relief assistance following the disaster.

Pressure on land and housing due to the displacement of thousands of people in heavily populated parts of Guadalcanal are also fuelling tensions.

Our correspondent Dorothy Wickham says a rumour suggesting the government would pay flood victims before they left the centres appears to have sparked the latest unrest.

She says tensions remain high in Honiara.

Meanwhile, World Vision says it has suspended its operations in the town, while Australia has upgraded its travel advisory urging Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in the city.