Donations to flood victims in Solomons mount

The two-day flash flooding that began on April 2 struck at the heart of Solomon Islands

The two-day flash flooding that began on April 2 struck at the heart of Solomon Islands’ administrative and business and commerce power base. It caught authorities napping. If there were any warnings at all, not many people took any notice. As in past natural disasters, Australia and New Zealand were the first to respond, offering financial and in-kind support. According to local news reports, Australia announced an initial SB$350, 000 (AU$50,000) assistance while New Zealand a similar amount. Unlike in the past, Canberra and Wellington now channelled their assistance through non-governmental organisations based in Honiara. The fear that their financial and material assistance could end up in the wrong hands for political gain had everything to do with the shift in aid disbursements by the two traditional donors. New Zealand also sent in medical teams. Taiwan, with which Solomon Islands has diplomatic relations also helped by announcing about A$290,000 aid package consisting of cash and inkind assistance. It also offered a three-man medical team including two doctors who are now working with medical authorities in Honiara.

tonnes of rice valued at half a million dollars. At this point, there are no clearer indications as to how much has come in so far. Locally, the Solomon Islands Government provided A$2.18 million to assist victims of the flash flooding. The problem is that, rather than give the funds directly to the National Disaster Management Office, Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo’s Government decided to share the money amongst Members of Parliament. Each of the 50 MPs received $300, 000. Criticisms have been levelled at the government for disbursing the funds through MPs with victims saying the government was using their misery to enrich themselves. Local businesses and organisations also made donations. The Solomon Forest Association (SFA) was the first to heed an appeal by the City’s Lord Mayor for help. It provided more than $200, 000 in foodstuffs and other urgently needed items.

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