17 Jun 2014

Repatriation of Solomons flood victims beckons

9:18 pm on 17 June 2014

The head of the National Disaster Management Office in Solomon Islands says he hopes to repatriate over a thousand people from evacuation centres by the end of this week.

Loti Yates, says there are now 1300 people remaining in the evacuation camps established after the flooding which devastated parts of Guadalcanal in April.

That number is down from a peak of 10,000.

Mr Yates says small repatriations have been happening as and when people have been ready to go.

He says budget contraints on the government to maintain the camps has added pressure to finalise a date for closure, and trying to convince people to move on is one of many challenges.

"Whilst we now have funds available to make sure that the repatriation starts. If we are to get them on to boats to return to their provinces of origin, we will be needing boats etc. So that again will determine whether all the camps will be cleared by the 21st of June or maybe the week later."

Loti Yates says the Ministry of Lands is making land available for resettlement, , but it may only be accessible through the normal process of acquiring land where people will need to put in bids and tenders.