Asia Pacific Network: 2 April 2007
DEATH TOLL CLIMBS IN SOLOMON ISLANDS DISASTER
Reports say the total number of deaths from the quake and the tsunami is rising. The tidal wave was triggered by an earthquake which struck the Western Solomons at around 7.30 am local time.
By PRIESTLEY HABRU in Honiara
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SOLOMON ISLANDS police have confirmed that four people have died from the tsunami that hits the country early this morning.
Assistant Police Commissioner Peter Marshall told reporters today that the dead were reported at Sasamunga in Choiseul Province and Gizo in the Western Province.
Sasamunga village is situated in Choiseul Province, west of Gizo, which is the headquarters of Western Province.
But reports said the total number of deaths from the quake and the tsunami was rising.
The tidal wave was triggered by an earthquake which struck the Western Solomons at around 7.30 am local time.
Reports said the quake was located 45 kilometres south of the New Georgia Islands in the Western Solomons at a depth of 10km measuring 8.1 on the richter scale.
Marshall, a New Zealander, also confirmed that a total of 20 houses was destroyed in different parts of Western Solomons.
He added six houses were destroyed and a child suffered a broken arm in Ringi Cove in the island of Kolombangara in the Western Solomons.
It could be a long time, before we could visit all affected areas and take time to asses the exact damages, he told reporters in a press conference today.
He said a final report for the day by the National Disaster Management Office in the capital Honiara would be issued by 8pm local time.
Marshall said a Participatory Police Force (PPF) aircraft and police officers were deployed to the Western Solomons to assess the damages.
A chopper with medical supplies was also deployed by the Solomon Islands Police with help from the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI) to assess the situation in the Western Solomons.
We have the necessary resources to assist in the damage, but we have to asses the damages before deploying the supplies.
There have been series of meetings by the NDMO as the day progress. We have been receiving reports on damages, but the difficulty is communication.
Reports also said communication by telephone to Gizo and parts of Western Solomons had been cut.
Marshall said he was satisfied working in coordinated manner with the NDMO and other stakeholders like the Red Cross in Gizo.
He acknowledged the large geographical location of the archipelago of islands and was awaiting first hand reports from a helicopter tsent to assess the damage in the Western Solomons
The New Zealander noted that a commercial vessel was also deployed into the affected islands to assist in the assessment of the damages.
He said police were able to verify the exact injuries and damages to people and their properties.
The people of Western Solomon Islands which have several islands and two provinces have moved to higher ground since this morning.