World Vision Solomon Islands
Press Release • Wednesday, March 8th 2017

Solomon Islands earthquake - three months on

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Three months ago a magnitude 7.8 undersea earthquake struck southwest of Kirakira, the provincial capital of Makira-Ulawa Province, causing destruction to communities in Makira-Ulawa, Malaita and Guadalcanal Provinces.

This is the largest earthquake communities around Makira have experienced. It occurred early Friday 9 December 2016. Homes and gardens were destroyed and thousands fearing a tsunami fled to higher ground.

“The recent earthquake was very frightening. After that experience, I still fear earthquakes. Our house was damaged and we lost our plates, cups, buckets and our garden destroyed,” said Louise Kole.

Louise is one of the recipients of the shelter kits World Vision distributed in Kirakira as part of the government-led disaster response. 

Solomon Islands earthquake recovery_2016
Louise and her baby.

Louise and her baby at their home in Kirakira, Makira-Ulawa Province. Photo: Obed Fagataoa/World Vision 

John, Louise's wife, said they lost many things and to date they are still coping with the impact left behind by the earthquake. He thanked World Vision for supporting him, his wife and six children.

“World Vision provided us shelter kit that contains a bush knife, nails, hand saw, hammer, rope, wire and cutters, hoe, sharpening file, crow bar, axe and shovel which was very helpful,” said John.

World Vision partnered with the National and Provincial Disaster Management Offices and National Disaster Management Sector Committees, made up of other Non-Governmental Organisations, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to respond to the disaster.

Earthquake in the Solomon Islands on Friday 9 December 2016.
Impacts of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck close to Makira on Friday 9 December 2016.

Through the support of the Australian and New Zealand Governments, World Vision distributed over 620 hygiene and shelter kits, 370 blankets, tarpaulins, kitchen sets and collapsible water containers worth over US$83,700.00 to 3,105 people in affected communities of Makira, Malaita and Guadalcanal.

“Initial assessments after the earthquake show the needs in remote communities in Makira, Malaita and Guadalcanal. Through the help of the Australia and New Zealand governments we were able to respond to these needs. I hope the support will help ease the burden of those affected and I wish them a quick recovery," said Janes Ginting, World Vision Solomon Islands Country Director.

Utilizing prepositioned supplies in its warehouses in Honiara, Makira, Malaita and the Weather Coast, World Vision responded quickly to requests for support from disaster offices and other agencies. World Vision was also able to support initial assessments including the provision of staff, logistics' and smartphones for rapid assessment.

Sea surge in Makira triggered by the 7.8 earthquake
Sea surge triggered by the earthquake went hundreds of metres inland causing damage to homes and food gardens at Waimarenga village.

World Vision Solomon Islands has four active projects across the three provinces impacted by the earthquake, working with 32 villages in South Malaita and East Malaita, 16 villages in Makira and 15 villages in Guadalcanal. 

A number of World Vision Solomon Islands program areas were affected by the earthquake, landslides and surge.