Oxfam on flood watch in Solomon Islands

Emergencies, Humanitarian Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 02 Jul 2015

Oxfam is monitoring Tropical Storm Raquel, which has the potential to see a repeat of the type of flash flooding in the Solomon Islands that caused extensive damage to Honiara last year.

Oxfam’s Country Director in the Solomon Islands Abimibola Akinyemi said forecasts showed the storm was expected to travel South-South-West from Isabel province, towards Western Province. Tropical cyclone warnings are current for all Solomon Islands Provinces.

“The National Emergency Operations Centre is predicting that Isabel, Malaita, Western and Guadalcanal provinces will be hit hardest by the storm,” Ms Akinyemi said.

“Oxfam staff on Malaita experienced high winds and torrential rain on Wednesday night and a heavy rain warning is in force for all provinces and islands today.”

“The storm is currently moving quite slowly, raising concerns of sustained heavy rains causing flash flooding and landslides. The Solomon Islands are quite mountainous, which elevates these risks. Seas will also be rough, with moderate to heavy swells bringing a risk of coastal flooding.”

Oxfam is in close communication with local authorities, including the National Disaster Management Office, and has prepositioned stocks in the country, including family hygiene kits, mosquito nets and collapsible water containers, ready for distribution if required.

At least 23 people were killed and 52,000 thousand people were affected by flooding resulting from the tropical low that became Cyclone Ita in April last year.

For interviews or more information, please contact Angus Hohenboken on 0428 367 318 or angush@oxfam.org.au