02 April, 2007

Solomon Islands Tsunami: UNDAC Ready to Deploy Aid Team

The UNDAC (United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination) issued a M1 (Alert Message) earlier today and a team comprising of aid workers from Australia, New Zealand, OCHA and the UNDP is ready to deploy upon the request of the Government of the Solomon Islands. Shortly after, the UN OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humantiarian Affairs) have verbally offered assistance to the Government of the Solomon Islands through the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) Deputy Resident Representative. The Government of the Solomon Islands is anticipated to make a request for international assistance based on the results of the NDMO (Natural Disaster Management Office) assessment that are expected to clarify needs and will be available by late evening today.

(Pre-Disaster Satellite Scan in Google Earth of Gizo, Pre-Tsunami/KMZ format - to download, save target/link as)

Initial Damage Assessment (via Oxfam)
More than 500 houses were damaged in Gizo town (45km from the quake’s epicentre) and surrounding villages while Gizo hospital, Gizo church and Gizo hotel have suffered extensive damage but despite a power outage in Gizo town, communication links are functioning.Sasamunga Hospital in Choiseul was partly flooded. and it is likely that large parts of South West Choiseul have been affected. 15 houses were reportedly swept away in Simbo and immediate needs include food, water and shelter.

Relief Efforts (Via Red Cross & OCHA)
The Red Cross will carry out an initial distribution of First Aid kits in Gizo town and has dispatched a boat containing tents. UNICEF has pre-positioned emergency medical supplies in the Solomon Islands for up to 10,000 people including 10 emergency kits, 5 ‘school in a box’ kits and 3 recreation kits. The UNICEF Pacific Emergency Focal Point (an UNDAC member) will travel to the Islands on 3 April while the UN office in the Solomon Islands’ capital Honiara has been evacuated except for essential staff.

The Natural Disaster Management Office (NDMO) in Western and Choiseul Provinces organized an assessment mission on 2 April. The assessment team included representatives of the NDMO, Government ministries, the police department, the Red Cross, NZ Aid and UNDP. Findings are expected to be made available by the end of the day.

Source: OCHA Situational Report# 1

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