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Cyclone season arrives early as Raquel threatens the Solomon Islands

Three months after Cyclone Pam, the island nation once again battens down as wild weather approaches

Thursday July 2, 2015

Solomon Islands
Photo: IFRC

Communities in the Solomon Islands are bracing themselves as tropical cyclone Raquel gathers strength in the South Pacific.  

Heavy rains and gale force winds are already striking the region as the cyclone - which has arrived several months before the official start of the season - approaches the Isabel, Choiseul, Western, Russells, Guadalcanal, Malaita, Makira, Temotu, Rennell and Bellona provinces.

Solomon Islands Red Cross is coordinating with the government Emergency Operations Centre to prepare communities, many of which are still rebuilding following the devastation of Cyclone Pam in March.  

"Tropical cyclone Raquel is now a reality for families living in the Solomon Islands and the next 24 hours will be critical," said Stephanie Zoll, Pacific regional disaster management coordinator for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).  

"Red Cross has been preparing for this eventuality; we have volunteers on standby and relief stock pre-positioned in country".  

The stocks, which include items such as tarpaulins and shelter tool kits, kitchen sets, water containers and hygiene relief items, are part of several Red Cross initiatives in the region designed to assist with disaster preparedness. Partnerships with 12 national meteorological services and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) are being set up to ensure communities can access and understand weather and climate alerts.  

Disaster awareness and preparedness can save lives, just like it did when Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu. Read more.