SIMS Issues Multiple Warnings as Flooding and Landslides Hit Honiara and Guadalcanal
The Solomon Islands Meteorological Services (SIMS) has been issuing heavy rain warnings since Thursday, November 9, 2023, and strong wind warnings since Sunday, November 5, 2023. As of Monday, November 13, a total of five heavy rain warnings and 14 strong wind warnings have been issued by SIMS.
Since Friday, November 10, 2023, several provinces have experienced heavy rain, leading to significant flooding in main streams and rivers. Particularly, Honiara and Guadalcanal have witnessed substantial rainfall, resulting in flooding and landslides that have affected numerous communities across Guadalcanal and Honiara. The heavy rain has been attributed to a trough situated over the Solomon Islands, linked to a low depression northeast of Malaita. The prevailing easterly wind flow south of the trough is expected to bring clouds, heavy rain, and thunderstorms to most provinces of the Solomon Islands.
The Special Weather Bulletin No. 8, issued on November 13, 2023, by SIMS, reports the Tropical Disturbance located north-northeast of Temotu, approximately 295 km from Duff Islands. This system is anticipated to induce rough seas, moderate swells, heavy rain, and strong winds of up to 65 km per hour for Temotu and Sikaiana Islands, as well as other parts of the country with wind speeds reaching up to 58 km per hour.
Honiara City Council
A tragic landslide in Kwaio Valley (Kobito Area) resulted in the destruction of one dwelling house, claiming the lives of three children and injuring one mother. The Lunga and Mataniko rivers faced significant flooding this morning, disrupting normal activities in the affected areas. Burns Creek flooding has impacted Burnscreek School, Palm Drive School, Solomon Power Residents, and the main road access to Betikama Adventist College (BAC). Reports indicate a landslide at Yellow Bamboo in Kaibia, central Honiara. Blocked drainage systems have led to flooding and debris along Honiara roads, causing disruptions in the city. Green Point Valley (Panatina campus) experiences flooding, contaminating the community’s water well for cooking and washing. At USP Hilltop behind the Multi-Purpose Hall area, a large stone rolled over, hitting a semi-permanent dwelling-house. The house collapsed, injuring occupants, and it is confirmed that a total of three families comprising 20 people were residing in this particular household.
River systems across Guadalcanal plains and West Guadalcanal have flooded, affecting communities. 40 children and 65 adults from Corona Market have been evacuated to Henderson Police Station as of 10/11/2023. 46 people were evacuated to Tetere Catholic Church, requiring urgent supplies of drinking water and food. 100 people sought shelter at Nguvia School. Mbalasuna River flooding has destroyed food gardens in nearby villages. Sopapera village (Foxwood Area) experiences flooding. Tenaru School up to the Corona market area is flooded due to water bursting out of Tenaru River, resulting in the destruction of market stalls. The Kaviki area of Tenaru reports destroyed food gardens. Flooding devastates a melon farm at Mataruka. The Barande River area reports flooding, inundating food gardens and farmlands of surrounding communities.
Satellite imagery from Friday reveals a high likelihood of flooding in all river systems across the Solomon Islands. Choiseul PEOC experienced showers on 11/11/2023, with no reports of damages as of 12/11/2023. Western PEOC reports occasional heavy rain, strong winds, and rough seas but no damages yet. The PEOC is on standby for potential impacts if the weather intensifies. RSIPF Isabel reports fine weather with very light rain and dark clouds, and no damages have been reported. Malaita PEOC reports ongoing heavy rain and flooding in major river systems, with no damages reported. Makira PEOC reports persistent heavy rainfall throughout the week, causing flooding in major river systems, but no damages reported. RSIPF Rennell and Bellona Province reports dark clouds with no rain or strong winds experienced. Temotu PEOC reports heavy dark clouds, high swells, and strong winds with no impact reports received yet.
National and Provincial Emergency Responses to Unprecedented Weather Events
The National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) is activated and on standby to facilitate coordination with Provincial Emergency Operation Centres (PEOCs), National Sector Emergency Operation Centres, and disseminate safety advice to the public. The Police Operation Centre is activated to coordinate and provide support for emergency evacuations. It collaborates closely with the Honiara City Council (HCC) and Guadalcanal Province Police to ensure a unified response.
Provincial Responses – Honiara City
Honiara City Municipal Emergency Operation Centre (MEOC) is fully activated to meticulously plan and coordinate emergency responses. The City Clerk, serving as the Chair of the Municipal Disaster Committee, is briefed on the Honiara City flood and landslide situation. Plans are underway for the establishment of Temporary Evacuation Centres. HCC Clerk approves the designation of Panatina, Vura, Naha, Mbua Valley, Mbokonavera, and White River Schools as Temporary Evacuation Centres in anticipation of potential flooding scenarios. RSIPF HCC is actively monitoring rivers and communities for flood and evacuation needs. Additionally, a Forensic Team has been deployed for Disaster Victim Identification (DVI).
Provincial Responses – Guadalcanal Province
The Guadalcanal Province Emergency Operation Centre (PEOC) is fully activated to plan and coordinate emergency responses. The P-DOC Chair is briefed on the current situation in Guadalcanal Province, guiding the response efforts. RSIPF Guadalcanal Province conducts evacuations from Corona Market to Henderson Police Station and GPPOL 2 surrounding communities to Nguvia School. The communities of Roroni, Rarate, and Talaura are evacuated to Tetere Catholic Church. P-DOC Guadalcanal convenes an urgent meeting to deliberate on critical responses as of 10:00 am Sunday 12/11/2023.
- Humanitarian agencies and organizations are urged to coordinate with PEOCs and MEOCs to effectively manage Evacuation Centres and Emergency Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) efforts.
- Individuals residing in flood high-risk areas are encouraged to voluntarily evacuate to high safe locations in response to increased threats from floods and landslides.
- The public is advised to contact toll-free operational centers for assistance:
- Police Operation Centre (999) for evacuation needs.
- Solomon Islands Meteorological Services (933) for weather updates and information.
- NEOC (955) for reporting impacts.
- National Health Emergency Operation Centre (NHEOC) (115) for health emergencies.
- St. John Ambulance (111) for medical emergencies.
- Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) (977) for maritime search and rescue.
- Solomon Power (166) or (167) for electricity issues.
- All Provincial PEOCs are urged to continually monitor the adverse weather situation and provide situational updates to the NEOC to inform the National Situational Report and response planning.
- Communities along major river systems impacted by floods are encouraged to report damages to the NEOC at phone number 955 to facilitate a clear understanding of the scope and scale of the weather impact.