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Tsunami Emergency In Solomons Declared Over

Tsunami aftermath. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Honiara (AFP) April 12, 2007
Officials in the Solomon Islands declared the emergency phase of their tsunami relief operation as complete Friday, and said their focus was now switching to rehabilitation.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare also announced April 23 would be a public holiday to remember the 40 people killed and 6,000 left homeless by the quake and tsunami which smashed the improverished archipelago April 2.

Sogavare said food was no longer a major issue as most gardens were intact and that what tsunami victims needed most was help to rebuild their lives.

Despite the phasing out of emergency operations, the disaster office said there were still reports of food shortages, notably rice, in Gizo, the major town affected by the disaster.

More rice would be sent to Gizo, said Julian Makaa of the disaster relief office.

Rescue services were called out again late Thursday however when a Taiwan relief vessel struck a reef after delivering supplies to Gizo.

The head of Marine Search and Rescue Jack Bana said no one was injured and helicopters were used to lift off Red Cross staff and patients who were being ferried to hospitals in the capital Honiara.

Maritime authorities had warned last week of submerged reefs caused by the recent quake.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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