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As Tsunami Strikes Solomon Islands; World Vision Responds

Contact: Andrea Russell, Regional Crisis and Relief Communications Manager, World Vision Asia Pacific, +91 040 40179428, +91 99892 38223 cell, andrea_russell@wvi.org


MEDIA ADVISORY, Apr. 2 /Christian Newswire/ -- A quake measuring 8.0 hit the Solomon Islands at 07:40 local time on Monday (20:40 GMT Sunday) causing a tsunami to sweep through villages and towns destroying homes, schools and churches. Families from Nukiki, Zepa and Luta villages in Southern Choiseul were searching for missing relatives since the tsunami struck. Overall 50-60 thousand people are believed to be affected, as the figures are still unclear at this time.


One of the most impacted areas is the town of Gizo in the west of the Solomons, which has around a thousand residents and was only 45km (25 miles) from the epicentre of the quake. International aid and development agency World Vision have reports of 25 deaths so far on Gizo and stories are also heard of the local hospital being inundated with water, hampering the efforts to aid the many injured.


The water measuring around 3m high in places has caused substantial damage and left many homeless and without access to clean water, after many of the water tanks collapsed falling down the hill. The loss of small traders around the coastline will also cause ongoing food shortages.


World Vision, one of the largest NGO's in the Solomon Islands will be responding. Paul Martell, Interim National Director has said that they will look to initially address the immediate need for emergency shelter and food.He continued to explain how many homes situated on hillsides have also suffered from landslides during the quake causing a number to slide off the hills, while villages around the coast have also been wiped out by the tsunami.


Assessments will be undertaken in relation to the restoration of water and sanitation as World Vision's major reconstruction input, as again the agency has one of the leading teams in Solomons with this skill set. The Solomons Government has sent a light plane to examine the area and after attending a disaster meeting in the capital city Honiara, Frieda Kana, Acting World Vision Country Program Manager will establish a first brief proposal.


Poor communications are inhibiting accurate data at the moment and the government has indicated that at this stage the cost of damage is in millions of dollars.


The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially issued a warning for all countries in the South Pacific region and authorities in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, north-eastern Australia, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Fiji, which has since been lifted but they are still being advised to stay on alert.


World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. World Vision serves the worlds poor -- regardless of a person's religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.