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Relief for Solomon Islands Stalled Until Sunday

Relief for Solomon Islands Stalled Until Sunday

Image courtesy of Australia Department of Defence

A village on the remote island of Tikopia in the Solomon Islands after Cyclone Zoe hit the area. Most of the trees were stripped and some village huts were partially damaged. However, the damage was minimal to this area of the island which is the most populated.

Relief packages onboard a ship containing food, medical supplies and relief workers will not get to the cyclone ravaged islands of Tikopia and Anuta until Sunday.

The isolated islands in the Solomons group were devastated at the weekend by the 350km/h winds and 11m seas by Cyclone Zoe.

The cyclone was one of the strongest storms recorded in the South Pacific.

New Zealand, Australian and French governments have ruled out airdrops of supplies, despite pleas that food and medical supplies be urgently provided to the families living on the islands.

The respective airforces say the islands do not have airstrips suitable for landing, making it difficult for supplies and relief to be delivered. An airdrop potentially could cause further injury and even death to villagers on Tikopia and Anuta.

Solomon Islanders say the relief packages ought to be dropped into lagoons and lakes so those on the devastated islands can retrieve them by canoe.

The Australian Airforce has carried surveillance flights over the islands (see image above) and the New Zealand Airforce has one Hercules crew on stand-by for search and rescue missions to the region.

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