Following days of heavy rain, river banks were strained and eventually broke, inundating communities in the Solomon Islands’ capital, Honiara and outlying areas on April 3, 2014. Thousands of homes and livelihoods were destroyed and lives lost.
In the days and weeks that followed, volunteers played an important role in World Vision’s emergency response, including packing relief items for affected communities.
ANZ staff from the Honiara office volunteered with World Vision, packing family kits and shelter kits. Family kits, including items such as buckets, kitchen utensils, soap, mosquito nets and cooking pots, will help people who lost their possessions in the flood. Shelter kits, including items such as a shovel, axe, crowbar, hammer and bush knife, will help families whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged.
“Having staff volunteer with World Vision is a great opportunity to give something back to communities,” said Geoffrey Buchanan, ANZ Bank Solomon Islands Chief Executive Officer.
ANZ staff were not immune to the effects of the flood. “A number of staff were affected by the flood and didn’t have water. Some ANZ staff lost relatives, homes and food gardens,” said Mr Buchanan.
ANZ Panatina branch manager, Barbara Kingsley, one of the volunteers who packed relief kits, recounts her story of the day the floods hit.
“I was very worried that my children would be in danger from the flooding so I drove home. I parked my car on the main road and swam toward my house. The current was so strong that I couldn’t make it. I saw some boys who offered to go to my house and rescue my children. I found a safe place to wait for them. It was a great relief to see the boys carrying my children on their shoulders.
I thought about others who lost their loved ones and how lucky I was. I know there are lots of people out there who are in dire need of food, water and other essential items so I wanted to help,” said Barbara.
Some ANZ volunteers, including John Niuman, helped distribute relief items. “I feel really sad for what is happening. By volunteering I can feel a part of helping people in need,” said John.
“It’s wonderful to have ANZ Bank staff working side-by-side with World Vision staff packing relief items and helping with relief distributions. I extend a big thank you to ANZ Solomon Islands for donating to World Vision’s emergency relief efforts,” said Dr Andrew Catford, World Vision Solomon Islands Country Director.
World Vision is providing relief assistance through a multi-sector response co-ordinated by the Honiara City Council and Guadalcanal Provincial Government, under the guidance of the National Disaster Management Office.