Young Catholics reach out to Solomons

Severe flooding in the Solomon Islands helped give extra meaning to the 6,000 young people taking part in the Caritas Challenge over the weekend.

“We need to be far more grateful for all we have because they have so little and even that is being taken away from them,” said Mareko Ennor, a Year 12 student at St Patrick’s College, Wellington.

Mareko described his involvement in the Caritas Challenge as “life-changing”, and said the challenge helped him put a lot of things in perspective.

Caritas NZ Director Julianne Hickey says the flooding in the Solomon Islands has made the situation that much more real for the students.

“They are reflecting on the situation there, sending their thoughts, prayers and fundraising for the people of the Solomons,” she said.

The Caritas Challenge is an annual event to raise money for charity work in the South Pacific and prior to the severe flooding, was this year focussed on the Solomon Islands.

Caritas’ response in place

Mrs Hickey confirmed Caritas New Zealand volunteers are already at work near the flooded areas.

“These floods will have a huge impact on people struggling to survive”, said Mrs Hickey.

With no central sewerage system and septic tanks overflowing, Mrs Hickey identified the spread of disease as a major threat.

Most people in the Solomon Islands grow their own vegetables so if the crops have not been destroyed by floods, the threat of contracting illness due to bacteria and viruses present in the effluent is very real.

While winds are still strong in Honiara, the chance of the nearby tropical depression becoming a cyclone remains low.

Image: Twitter @_binbin

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