In Temotu, another quake rattles aid response

A convoy makes its way to safer ground during a tsunami alert in the Solomon Islands in March 2011, following an earthquake in Japan. Photo by: Janine Fabre / Australian Department of Defence / Commonwealth of Australia

Another quake rattled the Solomon Islands’ Temotu province Friday morning, hampering relief efforts that got underway after an even larger tremor caused a tsunami two days ago.

Friday’s 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck the province around 6 a.m. local time. It followed the 8-magnitude quake and tsunami that hit the province on Wednesday, Feb. 6, affecting an estimated 6,000 people and leaving at least nine dead.

Earthquakes are common near the Solomon Islands, which is part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire. Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr — who announced 300,000 ($309,393) Australian dollars in emergency aid on Friday — will visit the country on Sunday, Feb. 10.

“When our staff talked to local people on the ground, they are visibly shaking by this last quake today. They felt like it was stronger than from the previous one,” World Vision’s Lauren Fisher told Devex.

The quake reportedly led to cracks on the road in Lata, Temotu’s capital.

A local coordination team comprising government and aid groups such as World Vision cancelled a planned assessment in the area following the quake. They were supposed to reach Temotu by boat. The tsunami left the airport in Lata filled with debris and water.

A plane loaded with relief supplies flew back to the capital, Honiara, where much of the aid is coming from, even before reaching the island.

That plane is expected to fly to Temotu again Friday afternoon. A ship containing relief supplies that was scheduled to leave this morning is also expected to depart around the same time.

World Vision and other aid organizations are focused on providing some of the basic needs, including bottled water, hygiene kits, blankets, mosquito nets, shelter kits and some medical supplies. They are working closely with the government, particularly the National Disaster Management Office.

The full impact of the twin disasters has yet to be assessed in some of the remote outer islands in the Solomons.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.