We arrived in Honiara the capital of Solomon Islands and have confirmed we’ll be on the ground in Santa Cruz tomorrow.
Today, we met with government departments including the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to plan out how we can work alongside them and complement the ongoing relief efforts in Temotu Province where Santa Cruz Island is located. A director at the Ministry said they were “very happy to have the extra hands to help.”
The Solomon Islands Government officially declared a State of Disaster for Santa Cruz Islands today. Reports from the remote islands are incomplete, so we still don’t know the scale of the impact the earthquake, tsunami and numerous large aftershocks have had on the local animal population. Little is known about the overall animal numbers as the last census was conducted in the 1970s. We anticipate that we’ll mostly find pigs, chickens and dogs as the main animals affected.
Local media reports indicate thousands have evacuated villages along the coasts and that the intensity of the aftershocks - some measuring over 7.0 is preventing villagers from returning home or even collecting what they need to bring to emergency evacuation centres.
For Solomon Islands media, this is the top story and the radio stations and newspapers were eager to talk to us about our work here. Each of the reporters I spoke to readily understood that protecting animals helps whole communities and were very keen to get the word out that help has arrived for the animals of Solomon Islands.
Speaking to local radio station PAOA FM about WSPA's disaster response in Solomon Islands