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Heavy rains flood isolated communities in Solomon Islands

Day of heavy rain have left thousands of people in remote island communities of Solomon Islands in need of emergency assistance.

Monday July 13, 2015

Solomon Islands relief supplies
Families in Solomon Islands with Red Cros relief supplies in 2014. Photo: NZRC/Jane Ussher

Initial reports suggest 10,000 people have been affected by severe weather, although these figures are expected to change once full assessments are completed. Solomon Islands Red Cross has relief stocks ready, including tarpaulins, shelter kits and hygiene items.  

 Rains have been pouring down on Solomon Islands since the end of June, intensifying in early July as Cyclone Raquel moved towards the country. Despite the cyclone being officially downgraded to a tropical disturbance, rains continued to sweep through the country causing damage to houses and crops. In Isabel, Choiseul and Western provinces, homes and buildings have been damaged and roads and access routes are under water.  

"Now the rains have finally stopped, emergency Red Cross volunteers are travelling to these communities to fully assess the damage," said Cameron Vidu, Disaster Risk Manager at Solomon Islands Red Cross.  

Wes Tongaka is part of the Red Cross emergency assessment team. "We are particularly worried about damage to peoples' houses and to their food gardens because of the heavy rain, and we know that many people are going to need Red Cross support," he said.  

The rise of unusual weather patterns is being linked to the effects of El Niño, a warming of surface oceans waters in the Pacific which can have an intense effect on weather patterns increasing the risk of heavy rainfall, drought and cyclones.   

Red Cross National Societies across the Pacific are helping their communities to predict, prepare for and respond to intense weather events. Australian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are supporting this work.  

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Story by Rebecca Webb, IFRC