Flash flooding has killed at least sixteen people and left 49,000 homeless in the Solomon Islands\’ capital Honiara, with another 40 missing and the death toll set to rise, officials say.
The disaster has raised fears that a lack of sanitation and fresh water will lead to an outbreak of dengue fever in the Pacific Island nation.
"It\’s grown a lot worse," Save the Children\’s emergencies manager Graham Kenna said on Saturday as reports filtered in of the havoc outside the capital Honiara, according to AFP news agency.
"The last report we had was there are 16 in the mortuary and at least 40 still missing, most of them children and it\’s very unlikely they\’ll be found alive," Kenna said.
"There are 49,000 who have lost their homes and are seeking temporary shelter."
Kenna said aid agencies urgently needed tents and tarpaulins but they could not be flown in while the airport remained shut after two houses floated onto the runway.
As Solomon Islanders battled the floodwaters they were also shaken by a strong 6.0 magnitude earthquake late on Friday, but there were no reports of any damage.
Source – Agencies