By Jackie Eager
The Australian Government has announced assistance of $3 million AUD to help with the flooding disaster in Honiara. This much needed support will be used in providing safe drinking water, shelter, food, sanitation and hygiene needs. It includes two Australian Government Rapid Response Team members, engineers and a 12-person Australian Defence Force assistance team. The money will be delivered through Australian NGOs and the Red Cross. You can find the full press release from the Hon. Julie Bishop here.
This news is coupled with the response from New Zealand, which will be providing a further $1.2 million NZD on top of the $300,000 that had already been announced. New Zealand has already delivered supplies including tarpaulins, water containers and medical supplies. The press release from Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully can be found here.
There are many places around town, such as the Forum Solomon Islands at the 360Degrees office (next to Lime Lounge), where you can leave donations. Many of the bale shops are having sales due to the flood, including Island Clothing next to Hyundai Mall which is half price until this coming Friday. As well as clothes, other much needed donations are basic hygiene products such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, nappies, and feminine sanitary products.
By Jackie Eager
The road heading out of Honiara towards Visale has partly collapsed in the flooding.
While one side is reinforced and still intact, the approach on the Visale side has caved in. Two palm tree trunks have been placed across the open space so people can walk between them but clearly, there is no access for cars to cross at this stage. Sadly, it appears that people were on the bridge when the collapse occurred and were swept away by the current.
Thankfully the rain has started to ease across Honiara. While there is always a chance that the weather may return, for the moment, there is a little respite for the clean up to begin.
For those in Honiara looking to contribute goods to the relief effort, the Forum Solomon Islands is collecting donations at the 360 Degrees office, just down from the Lime Lounge. They are after the basics: food, water, sanitary goods and clothes. If you are interested in volunteering at the evacuation center, then meet at Save The Children at 10am (Sunday 6th). The Red Cross is also coordinating from the Honiara Hotel.
The following photos were taken by Tony Bransby on Thursday and Friday. He has kindly let me share them here. I found them quite moving and hopefully they inspire people to dig deep and send a donation through UNICEF.
Flooding has caused devastation across Honiara over the past few days. Over 10,000 people are said to have had their homes affected, and there are reports of approximately ten people killed and many more missing.
The flooding came up quickly on Thursday late afternoon. Roads were turned into rivers, stranding many across town and those on the Matanikau River had little time to evacuate before it burst its banks. China Town has been one of the most badly hit areas, with the old bridge completely washed away and houses taken by the river. There are also reports of looting.
The following photos were taken on Saturday morning, once the waters had receded somewhat. Please visit UNICEF if you are able to provide some much needed funds.
For updates check out Sam Bolitho on Twitter and Figi (Solomon Islands) list on Twitter
By Jackie Eager
The International Tea Group (ITG) has made a welcomed donation of school supplies to the Mercy School in Burns Creek. The supplies included educational posters, paper, crayons, toys for the early childhood room and over 70 reading books.
The Mercy School was independently created by a local Solomon Islander, Bev Komasi, to service the needs of largely Malaitan people who had settled in the Burns Creek settlement of Honiara. Approximately 700 children are educated at Mercy School, which consists of six classrooms.
ITG member Leigh, is pictured below handing over the resources to Salome, the school’s Deputy Head Teacher. Salome was most grateful for the donations and the interest of ITG in supporting education. The Head of School, Simon Rilaua, wrote that ‘The School expressed their gratitude for women who give their support and have concern to the wellbeing of the children of Mercy primary school’.
By Liz Cotterell
(Liz is an Australian volunteering in Solomon Islands. She is a marine biologist with a passion for fish and fisheries, and everything underwater)
Last week I flew to Gizo for meetings with stakeholders to talk about protected areas. I’ve been to Gizo before, so I knew what to expect, but it was still pretty awesome.
Art in the Park is an art and craft market held in the children’s park opposite Rove, on the last Sunday of each month. I recently visited the market and had a really enjoyable time walking around, looking at all the different things people were selling.
There was a variety of items on offer such as woven handbags and baskets, wooden bowls and ornaments, jewelry, and paintings. The items were all of a very high standard and also quite reasonably priced. I ended up buying a basket (pictured below) for $200 and a wooden carving of a squid with little shell eyes for $50. The carving will sit nicely on my desk, holding my papers down and stopping the fan from blowing them away.
The atmosphere of the market was relaxed and with both purchases, I had a lovely chat with the seller and they kindly let me take some photos. While not a huge market (I spent about 30 minutes there), Art in the Park is a nice place to see some of the creative talent on offer in Solomon Islands. If you’re a visitor, it’s also a great place to get some souvenirs of your trip.
It’s school holiday time in Solomon Islands at the moment which means it’s also a super time for kiddie crafternoons. Craft is a great way for kids to express their creative energy and it can keep them busy while parents have some well deserved time-out.
If you have access to a computer and a printer then check out First Palette. It’s an amazing resource filled with free craft, art activities, and printables designed to nurture creativity and the love for learning. There are lots of activities such as colouring pages, stick puppets, crowns, shoe box dioramas, and my favorite, mask making. The site has craft projects by theme, season, occasion and age group.
(Photo: Jenny Scott)
Some days in Honiara, a cool drink or shower just doesn’t do the trick – you need to get in a pool! For those who are not lucky enough to have a pool at home, the hotels in Honiara kindly offer a great alternative. Two that I have recently sampled are:
Heritage Park Hotel (photo above): Mendana Avenue, P: 24007, $100 adult, $50 children, visit reception upon arrival.
Honiara Hotel: Entrance in China Town, P: 21737, $50 adult, $25 children, go straight to the pool upon arrival.
Prices are per day so you are free to lounge around as long as you want. Both have changing/toilet facilities available and there is also food service.
Bewildered by a breadfruit? Confounded by a cassava? Craving some cake? Then these are the books for you.
After only a few days of arriving in Honiara, it became pretty clear to me that my cookbooks from Canberra were just not going to cut it. The ingredients needed for most of my regular dishes read as a list of things that I couldn’t seem to find no matter how many shops I visited. More importantly, I kept looking around at all the great fruit and vegetables (and fish) that Solomon Islands had to offer and felt quite frustrated that I didn’t really know how to cook them properly. Just down the road I had a lovely stall, brimming every day with healthy goods just waiting for me to skill-up and enjoy them.
Luckily for me, I learnt about two great cookbooks that are for sale in Honiara and that use locally found ingredients. Both are available from the Lime Lounge. More…