OCEANIA/SOLOMON ISLANDS - Missions and Catholic schools flooded and damaged, panic among the people

Monday, 7 April 2014

Sidney (Agenzia Fides) - 19 people have died and 40 are missing due to the floods that hit the Solomon Islands and in particular the capital Honiara. One of the worst natural disasters ever to hit the archipelago of 550 000 inhabitants in the South Pacific. Approximately 49 thousand people have been left homeless, over 5500 people have taken refuge in three of the most crowded evacuation centers, where aid groups fear the spread of dengue fever, transmitted by mosquitoes. So far serious damage to the water supply and infrastructure, including electricity and sewage have been registered. The Archbishop of Honiara, His Exc. Mgr. Adrian Smith, in yesterday’s statement, April 6, sent to Fides Agency, thanked those who are showing their solidarity towards the population of Honiara.
"The information we have is very little, from what I know - says Mgr. Smith - to the west, 20 km from Honiara, several bridges have collapsed, to the east the situation is the same. In Honiara, luckily the Care Centre, San Isidro, for young people with speech and hearing disabilities was not damaged. The St. Joseph's Catholic Secondary School and St. Martin's, Rural Training Centre were evacuated. Some students have been transferred to parish centers".
The Bishop of Gizo, Mgr. Luciano Capelli, confirms that in Gizo and Malaita the situation is not as bad, even if people live in fear".
"The waters are receding but the country still has to deal with the actual damage suffered", said Fr. Ambrose Pereira, Director of the Don Bosco Technical Institute, Henderson. "We expect difficult weeks and months for the displaced, and due to poor infrastructure and inadequate food supplies". (AP) (Agenzia Fides 07/04/2014)