Over the past few days we have been working our way through the villages of the remote Santa Cruz Islands, which lie about 400 kilometres southeast of the Solomon chain. There are many devastated villages on both the western and southern coastlines. In one of the worst hit, Nea, on the south side of the islands, there are flattened houses everywhere – one was even lifted by the wave and carried into the middle of a road!
We have learned that as the villagers evacuated they attempted to release their livestock, which is a common practice here and gives the animals a fighting chance of escaping the water. The only trouble now is that most people cannot find their frightened pigs, which have run off into the bushes and hills. This is making our job of locating and treating injured animals quite challenging. On the positive side, the large majority of animals that we have seen that have managed to survive, all appear healthy.
We will be continuing our work in the days ahead to identify animals that need our help. We are also in contact with several aid organisations and have asked them to report any animals that require veterinary care due to illness, injury and dehydration.