Wednesday, April 2, 2008

1 year on: The Great Gizo Earthquake and Tsunami

Last week (2 April to be exact), Solomon Islands marked 1 year since the "Great Gizo Earthquake and Tsunami" of 2007 when a massive 8.1 earthquake struck the seabed south of Gizo in the Western Province, uplifting Rannonga island and triggering a tsunami.

According to the National Disaster Management Office the human and physical toll was massive:
• 52 dead and 40 injured
• more than 36 thousand people affected in 6900 households across 300+ communities
• more than 3 thousand houses destroyed and as many damaged

According to SPC projections this would mean approximately 40% of the Western-Choiseul population was affected by this disaster.

Although relief and recovery efforts have underway for many months now, by international, national government and NGO actors, many victims remain in tent housing, and disatisfaction with progress has been repeatedly voiced, most recently by the Governor General.

Hence while there have been commemorations of the events of last April, some victims threatened to boycott them.

The tsunami has been a significant test of the ability of both government and development actors to deliver services to the communities that form the majority of SI. The results appear to have been very mixed.