A World Bank team skilled in infrastructure damage assessment and rural and social development will arrive in the Solomon Islands next week to assist with the country?s tsunami recovery effort.
Country Director for the World Bank?s Pacific Islands operations, Mr Nigel Roberts, wrote to Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on April 3 to offer the Bank?s immediate assistance with recovery and rebuilding.
One of the World Bank experts being dispatched to the Solomons is an infrastructure specialist who worked alongside the Government of Indonesia and the donor community in comprehensive damage assessments of Banda Aceh after the 2004 tsunami and of Yogyakarta after the 2006 earthquake.
The Solomon Islands tsunami ? which has claimed 28 lives so far and left thousands of people homeless ? struck following an earthquake, measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale. There have been at least 27 smaller aftershocks since the original quake although no further damage has been reported. The Australian Seismological Centre warns of a high possibility of further large earthquakes coming days.
The World Bank team has been in close contact with the Australian and New Zealand authorities who are providing humanitarian relief and with United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) which has been undertaking an initial damage assessment since the tsunami hit. UNDAC has asked the Bank to assist with a detailed damage assessment of infrastructure ? especially in the area of housing.
Recently, the World Bank approved a major change in its emergency policy, enabling the organization to more rapidly respond to disasters such as the tsunami in Solomon Islands. This includes the establishment of a team of emergency experts that the bank can send immediately a disaster strikes.