Serious floods on Guadalcanal
I hope this attachment helps you to understand our situation here in Honiara, thank you for your concern. Please keep us in your prayers. Easter is our hope.
+ Adrian Smith sm
Archbishop of Honiara
Dear All, It is Sunday Afternoon April 6th and I want to thank you for your concern for us. This is not a comprehensive report on the serious floods we have experienced here on Guadalcanal. It is just an attempt to share with you the bits of information I have been gathering since the floods started. On April 2nd it was already clear that we were going to have problems as we had a lot of heavy rain. It would seem that the flooding problem is on the lee side of Guadalcanal and not on the weather coast. From what I know going west in the direction of Visale, Sacred Heart Parish, which is over 20 kilometers west of Honiara a number of the bridges have been spoiled. It may not be the actual bridge that has been spoiled but the approach to the bridges as the rivers in flood when they are obstructed by the bridges they eat away the approach to the bridges on both sides. East of Honiara the situation is much the same. The some of the bridges on the road to Tetere, Christ the King Parish, have been spoiled; again I am not sure of the details. The Good Samaritan Hospital at Tetere lost their ambulance, it seems that it was on a rescue mission and got taken away by the flood and is now useless. Let me go back to west of Honiara, we have a Care Centre, San Isidro, for young people with speech and hearing disabilities and the good news is that the centre is not damaged by the floods. The Director, Brother Joris van der Zant sm has been isolated from the centre; he seems to be stranded between two damaged bridges. Unfortunately I do not have phone contact with him. Just a moment ago I call the Marist Regional House in Tanagai and Brother Joris is there. His truck remains stranded between two damaged bridges. East of Honiara has been the cause of much worry for me. St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School has had to evacuate many if not all their students. The flooding waters covered the school area and went into the girls’ dormitory. With difficulty they were able to get a high truck that could wade its way to reach the school and evacuate the students. Many of them are in Honiara with relatives and others are sheltered in Kukum Parish Hall. St. Martin’s a Rural Training Centre close to St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary school had also to evacuate their students, some of them are with us here at Holy Cross. Nazareth Apostolic Centre Tenaru has been under water, but there are no reports of buildings being destroyed. Holy Name of Mary Interdiocesan Seminary also in the Tenaru area has been under water, again there have been no reports of damage of building. Of course in all three places the food gardens have been destroyed. Part of the problem during these days of flooding is that power lines were cut off and so all the institutions I have mentioned are without power. Even the mobile phone connections are not working well. The information we have is very scanty.
Thanks for the rememberance and for supporting us as we went through
these past days of struggle. It was a difficult time for all of us.
Saturday, has been a bright morning and together with the few boys and
girls that are with us we did a bit of cleaning the gym and chapel as both
were flooded and filled with mud and silt.
It rained in the afternoon, but we are well at Don Bosco. The people -
espeically the China Town area, Tetere area and other parts are affected
The water has receeded and hopefully things will settle.
We had a few people who spent the night (2nd April) here at Don Bosco
- we put them in the classrooms on the 1st floor as the gym was
flooded. They left the next morning.
Many wanted to come - but were not able to - due to lack of transport.
We mourn the loss of the ones who died and are sad to hear of the
destruction to houses and property. Trust help will be underway for
We are just back from Tetere (6th April) and it is good that the students have
already cleaned up the place and are all set to start and even help out
if needed. The Good Samaritan Hospital has lost an ambulance that got
caught in the flood, overturned and got stuck in the mud. They are
pulling it out today.
Do keep us in prayer as we strive to rise from yet another disaster.
Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb
This report mainly refers to some Catholic Mission Stations, but may give an overview of the general situation.
Within a month we had two strong cyclones. This second one has brought extraordinarily long and uncontrollable rains especially in the capital Honiara and the island of Guadalcanal .
1 . The ambulance donated by the Italian Ambassador in Canberra was swept away while trying to save several families . Miraculously no one died but the ambulance is unrecoverable and totally destroyed
2 . The parish of Tetere is totally submerged in water. The Hospital , the residence of the Sisters and the school are safe and still above the water level thanks to Franco and to the thousands of tractors of gravel that our volunteers have used to raise the level.
3 . Several bridges were swept away.
4 . In Honiara things are even worse. The bridge that connects to Chinatown was swept away along with several houses along the river. There are two confirmed deaths.
5 . The main cement bridge in town across the Metaniko river is passable only for one car at a time, the foundations of the bridge are giving in.
6 . In the seminary and pastoral center flooding reaches one meter in height. The seminarians are on the only structure to the second floor and in the gym. The library was reached by the water. It is alarming to receive a phone call late at night to 350 Km away and not be able to intervene.
7 . The cathedral and the hill of Holy Cross in Honiara are full of "refugees".
8 . At Gizo and Malaita things are more calm but the water is abundant; there are power cuts and people live in fear.
9 . Volunteers Sandro , Alba and Franco were able to leave early in the afternoon flight even though now also the international track is closed for the moment.
The good news is that after two weeks of drought now we can take a shower without problems ... but thinking about those who died you do not feel like doing it anymore…
We are experiencing a moment of true Way of the Cross.
Just stay close and if you can, also give us a hand.
Bishop Luciano Capelli, sdb
Diocese Gizo, Solomon Islands
PS . On April 2 we have just recalled the tragedy of the earthquake and tsunami 7 years ago