News

Raging floods rip heart out of Solomon Islands' capital

AT least seven have been killed in floods in the Solomon Islands, making it one of the Pacific's worst disasters of recent times.

About 30 people are believed to be missing, and there have been reports of children's bodies floating down the main river in the Solomons' capital of Honiara.

The floods, from a slow-moving tropical depression threatening last night to turn into a cyclone, have also left more than 10,000 people temporarily homeless in Honiara alone.

They are clustering in 16 evacuation centres in local schools on high ground in the city of 70,000 people, where the police have also been rounding up looters.

Aid workers fear outbreaks of diseases from polluted water.

An old bridge through Honiara's Chinatown has been swept away, carrying a young mother and her baby daughter with it, said the Solomon Times, quoting a witness to the collapse.

Floodwaters have also been pushing against the city's main bridge over the Mataniko River, which separates the central business district - including New Zealand's High Commission - from Honiara's closed airport.
Looters in Honiara's Chinatown help themselves after the storm. Looters in Honiara's Chinatown help themselves after the storm.

National Disaster Management Office head Loti Yates said the floods were the worst he had been confronted with.

"This is by far the worst flooding I have witnessed since heading this organisation - the scale and magnitude is overwhelming," he said.

Australia's ABC news service had quoted the Solomon Islands Government as saying at least 16 people had died but Government spokesman George Hemming told the Herald that figure referred to the number of people being treated in hospital and the death toll was seven.

Search and rescue efforts were being hampered by heavy rain and huge waves battering the coast.

Oxfam's Solomons country director Katie Greenwood said there had been a significant loss of homes along the Mataniko River.

There were reports of landslides and flooding on the western and eastern plains of the country's main island of Guadalcanal, where the capital Honiara is situated.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minster Murray McCully last night announced that New Zealand will make an initial contribution of $300,000 to support an immediate response to the disaster. He said reports were being received of flooding in other parts of the Solomon Islands, as well as the capital.

"The death toll is likely to rise and there appears to be significant damage to homes and infrastructure," Mr McCully said.

"We are in close contact with the local authorities in Honiara and stand ready to provide further assistance as required."

The minister said $250,000 of the relief money would be provided to agencies working on the ground in the Solomons to provide emergency supplies and shelter to flood victims.

A further $50,000 had been allocated to New Zealand's High Commission for purposes identified by the Solomons' Government.

Save the Children development programme director Rudaba Khondkher said the country's predicament was dire, and feared the outbreak of diseases such as dengue fever in evacuation camps.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says 147 New Zealanders are registered as being in the Solomon Islands, although none had by late yesterday sought consular assistance.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs regional director Sune Gudnitz said from Fiji that the flooding followed days of heavy rain, which was still falling.

He said the depression was threatening to turn into a category one cyclone.

New Zealand MetService lead weather forecaster Mickey Malivuk said last night that although gale force winds may ease today, heavy rain was likely to continue from the depression.

He said it was heading slowly west, towards northern Queensland rather than towards New Zealand, as suggested earlier yesterday by the United States military's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre.

Topics:  fatalities, flood, natural disaster, solomon islands


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Lake Apex playground gets face lift

SAFE AND SOUND: Thomas Feldhahn having fun at the renovated junior playground.

Lake Apex playground has been renovated to address safety issues.

Hazel the dog finds new forever family

NEW HOME: Hazel, the mastiff cross was adopted by Gloria and Ivan Trusz after they saw her photo in the Gatton Star.

Hazel's found a new home.

Laidley Heights scenic views could be lost to big tower

Judy and Kevin Kelleher are calling for action against a 47 metre phone tower, proposed to be erected in Laidley Heights.

Proposed phone tower has residents angry.

Local Partners

Somerset Dam ready to undergo upgrade

SOMERSET Dam will undergo a minor upgrade ahead of the next wet season to improve dam safety and flood mitigation.

Lake Apex playground gets face lift

SAFE AND SOUND: Thomas Feldhahn having fun at the renovated junior playground.

Lake Apex playground has been renovated to address safety issues.

Hazel the dog finds new forever family

NEW HOME: Hazel, the mastiff cross was adopted by Gloria and Ivan Trusz after they saw her photo in the Gatton Star.

Hazel's found a new home.

Laidley Heights scenic views could be lost to big tower

Judy and Kevin Kelleher are calling for action against a 47 metre phone tower, proposed to be erected in Laidley Heights.

Proposed phone tower has residents angry.

Thornton braces for off-road racing action

FLYING HIGH:  High-flying racing comes to Thornton.

Thornton to place host to off-road racing.

Gat ready for Laidley's first Small Farming Expo

RURAL COMES FIRST: Expo co-ordinator Margo Hayes is an experienced Vitulus Lowline and Ozline breeder.

Get ready for the 2016 Small Farming Expo.

BOM predicts potential above average rainfall for Lockyer Valley

The weather forecast for the Lockyer Valley.

More rain than usual for region revealed in Bom outlook.

Classic car auction draws buyers from US, Dubai

"He wants everyone to enjoy the cars, the collection got too big'

Britney Spears smoked cannabis as a teenager

Britney Spears

Britney Spears experimented with cannabis when she was 17.

Lady Gaga confirms Super Bowl show

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga to perform in coveted spot

Girls actors give emotional tributes to hit show

Actor Allison Williams

Actors farewell smash hit HBO show Girls after six seasons

Janet Jackson's pregnancy is 'best thing'

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson can't wait to become a mum

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.