13 Mar 2015

Cyclone damage in Solomon Islands

8:35 pm on 13 March 2015

Solomon Islands is taking stock of the aftermath of Cyclone Pam with reports of serious damage in the country's eastern province.

Continuous heavy rains fall in Solomon Islands caused by Cyclone Pam in the country's east heading South East and away to Vanuatu.

Cyclone Pam brought heavy rain to Solomon Islands before heading south-east towards Vanuatu. Photo: RNZ / Margaret Maealasia

Trees and crops have been flattened, with residents sheltering in school buildings and caves as the Category 5 storm destroyed their homes.

Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office Deputy Director Jonathan Tafiariki said Tikopia Island was one of the worst affected.

"We have been informed that now the island is more like a desert again, since they have experienced strong winds since yesterday," he said.

"So that means we have all the food gardens and most of the trees have been blown down."

Mr Tafiariki said other islands have reported extensive destruction and damage to houses but so far there had been no loss of life.

He said initial relief efforts from the disaster management office would focus on food, water and medical supplies but ongoing severe weather conditions were delaying the response.

'Some people have been injured'

Another spokesperson, Brian Tom, told Checkpoint that more than 3000 households had been affected, with some houses damaged or destroyed - and reports of injuries.

"Some people have been injured from the fallen trees [and] houses that were destroyed by the strong winds of the tropical cyclone."

Mr Tom said Tikopia and Anuta bore the full force of the storm.

He said the people of Tikopia had lost 90 percent of their food crops and fruit trees, and their water was contaminated, but the weather was still too rough to launch a boat with emergency supplies.

He said all phone lines to Anuta were down and they had no information about how the island has fared.

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