Tsunami Update

10:09am Solomon Islands time

  • Vessel location: Gizo
  • Travelled this morning from Noro to Gizo
  • People very hungry — especially on Ranongga and Vella la Vella and Simbo
  • Helicopter flying over villages

Time: 1:04pm Solomon Islands time

  • Vessel location: Gizo
  • Nixon Silas has just come from a meeting with the chairman of the Disaster Committee, Mr Arnold Moven, who is also the PS to for the Provincial Assembly.
  • Mr Moven informed Mr Silas that the Province has no money to charter any boats. Charter rates have been supplied to the Office of Special Coordinator of RAMSI & AUSAID in Solomon Islands.
  • Peter Lynch of Pelena Energy in Australia (the boat builder) sent additional requests to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Downer suggesting that the Australian Government should directly charter the Pelena Express vessel and make it available to the Disaster Committee. Also sent additional notification to Peter Lynch’s local MP, Mr Luke Hartsuyker.
  • The Premier of the Western Province, Mr Alex Lokopio, announces that there is no fuel in Gizo. The Pelena Express vessel does not have this problem as it can access diesel in Noro.

Eyewitness account from Ringi Cove

Received by email Wednesday 4th April. From Mia Rimon describes her experience at Ringi (Ringe)

Was in Ringe, in Western Province when the earthquake hit, thank God not at night, watched with others as the sea drained in passages around our dormant volcanic island (Kolumbangara) and went full dry in passages, then within minutes quickly refilled, boiling rivers like class 1 rapids and then overflowing high tide marks and up hills, all boats floating and most wharfs made of logs destroyed, just washed away. Lots of dead fish on the water, as they were stranded in the drys. Big huge sounds before the first waves hit and high high pressure, my housegirl in Ringe was thrown from the veranda to the garage by the suction of the wind. Leaf houses floating by, whatever on points and low coastals were filled to the roofs (we watched) and then drained, etc., till some just joined the sea. Stood with a widow who said "there goes my house!!" and sure enough it was going by on the other side of the rapidly moving channel.

By afternoon the coastal people had all Gone Bush and came to the forestry company where I was asking for tents, they basically went with clothes on their backs. Tremors have continued, a big one last night at 11 and 1 am and then a 6.1 quake today at about 10:30 am, so the islanders think another big one is coming. Many still standing houses, eg cement base, are unstable and could topple. Pilots at Munda today commented on canoes in trees in Nila (Shortlands) and Gizo area of Malekareva swept away (that is where the deaths were first reported) and Sasamunga (choiseul, quite north of us) is flattened. Some big damage is at Taro the north part of Choiseul.

I saw a lot of aircraft in Munda this morning, did not even know there were that many planes in the whole country, as it is an old WW2 strip very safe and dry. Met a Munda friend who was sleeping in bush under plastic, reported all water pipes busted, so water will soon be a problem. I think water will be a very big problem for atolls and food, esp. Simbo, as the quake very near there, and they have an active volcano on the island they are worried about.

So, tremors continue, Gizo is getting help, but many people are up on the hill waiting for relief as they are afraid to go back down to their houses. Deaths are just not reported yet more than 4 or so, but we fear there will be many, the strength of the water was so high that it is impossible people were not swept away. In any case, red cross and Nat disaster council were in Munda last night and doing assessment today, RAMSI helicopters took out 3 stretchers yesterday and we will know more later, some helicopter photos should be hitting ABC Australia channel as they hired a friend here who has a private chopter yesterday, so they would be the first shots you saw. We have not seen any….our house has strong foundations and way high on concrete reinforced posts on a cement base, so we will probably be okay, that is if everyone did not flee in terror and leave our engines and genset to the wind!

Love to you all and thank you for prayers. Tero, your family is fine, Wagina okay, Tessie and Sonny are in Marovo and Nellie and Nick will be in the bush, so do not fear total destruction and death, Nusabaruku is not flattened, it just had some damage, but nothing like Malekereva. Love Mia

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

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Last updated Wednesday, April 4, 2007