Solomon Islands Flooding

April 24, 2014

From Anglican Alliance:

recent update from the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) Provincial Disaster Committee has highlighted the immediate and effective response of the Church to communities affected by flash-floods in the Solomon Islands.

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April 8, 2014

Episcopal Relief & Development is in contact with the leadership of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands.  On April 3, heavy rains caused the Mataniko River to breach its banks, resulting in severe flash floods and the destruction of homes and key infrastructure.  At least 23 people died and approximately 9,000 are homeless, with more than 5,500 staying in schools and community centers and many more with relatives.  Local sources are calling this the “worst disaster in the country’s history,” with nearly 10% of the country’s 550,000 people affected. 

The disaster flooded the airport and washed away the bridge connecting it to Honiara, causing operations to be suspended for several days before being partially restored on April 7.  Honiara is the country’s sole commercial and business center, so the damage to businesses and ports will further impede the country’s recovery.  Water infrastructure around Honiara was badly impacted, leading to concerns about waterborne disease.  According to an ACOM report, government authorities and aid agencies are working together to provide relief and address the most immediate needs for repair and reconstruction.

The ACOM Disaster Committee is leading the response effort, with the Diocese of Central Melanesia and the Diocese of Guadalcanal currently conducting surveys of impacted parishes and communities.  Three vulnerable communities along the Mataniko River – Koa Valley, Vara Creek and Tuvaruhu – were very badly hit and many people lost their homes.  Some buildings, including St. John the Baptist Anglican Church in Koa Valley, survived despite being completely flooded and can be rehabilitated.  Both dioceses have taken a leading role in emergency supply distribution with assistance from the Mother’s Union, parishes, youth groups and individuals, and ACOM has appealed to church members around Honiara for their support.  The Church anticipates the need for trauma counseling and psychosocial care during later stages of the disaster response.

Please continue to pray for those impacted by the flooding in the Solomon Islands, especially the family and friends of those who died or who are still missing, and for our Church partners who are caring for those in need.

On the Occasion of a Disaster

Compassionate God… Draw near to us in this time of sorrow and anguish, comfort those who mourn, strengthen those who are weary, encourage those in despair, and lead us all to fullness of life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen

– Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (Church Publishing: New York), p. 733

Episcopal Relief & Development is the international relief and development agency of The Episcopal Church and an independent 501(c)(3) organization. The agency takes its mandate from Jesus’ words found in Matthew 25. Its programs work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Episcopal Relief & Development works closely with worldwide Church and ecumenical partners to help rebuild after disasters and to empower local communities to find lasting solutions that fight poverty, hunger and disease, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.