Head of the National Disaster Management Council says today’s heavy rains and flash floods are the worst he’s ever witnessed for Honiara.
Loti Yates made the statement on national radio today when announcing the NDMO’s evacuation program for people worst hit by today’s heavy torrential rains and its consequential flash floods.
Reports reaching SIBC state communities in White River, Rove, Mataniko, Koa Hill and other areas located near rivers and streams are among the worst hit areas.
Other unconfirmed reports state that the flooding Mataniko River swept away homes, livestock and a number of people – with some of the people being found in seas outside of Point Cruz.
Heavy flooding also swept away the old Mataniko Bridge in Chinatown, and most businesses and offices were forced to close early today.
One shop owner in Chinatown reportedly opened his shop and invited people to take goods for free after the behind of the building was swept away by the flooding Mataniko River.
Director of National Disaster Management Office, Loti Yates told SIBC News this current bad weather is the worst he’s seen since he took up his job as head of the NDMO.
“This event is the worst I’ve ever seen since taking up the job, that there are so much heavy rain around this area that creates this massive flash foods. Not only that, it won’t help when our drainage systems in the city are not working properly, contributing to the floods. Driving around to assess the situation myself today I was sad to notice the fact that there were children and women carrying little kids in the rain trying to evacuate themselves from the flooded areas and in some places it seems people’s belongings have been washed away by the Mataniko floods.”
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Office has urged road users to drive back to their homes and garage their vehicles.
NDMO Head Loti Yates told national radio today the road needs to be cleared for police and emergency response workers.
“It would be good if people just head straight to their homes rather than creating extra hurdles for emergency response workers. The police will need space to run their vehicles if we are to engage them to evacuate people from the high risk areas, we will all need space and it won’t help when everyone else wants to witness the events, creating extra traffic on our roads. I think for safety purposes please drive back to your homes, pack your vehicles and remain in the safety of your homes. That will be the biggest message I want to tell people because now the emergency response workers, like police and others working to help those affected will need space on the roads to carry out their duty.”