Stranded between two bridges in the Solomons Flood

The flood in the Solomon Islands stranded Brother Joris van der Zant, the director San Isidro Care Centre for young people with speech and hearing disabilities.

On Sunday the Archbishop Honiara, Adrian Smith reported that Brother Joris had been isolated from the centre, stranded between two damaged bridges.

Joris eventually managed to return to the Society of Mary’s Regional House at Tanagai, but he had to leave his truck behind.

Smith said the good news was the centre, which is to the west of Honiara, is not damaged by the floods.

In an interview with the Catholic Reporter PNG, on Sunday afternoon April 6th Archbishop Smith thanked people for their concern. He said it not was possible as yet to give not a comprehensive report on the serious floods in Guadalcanal.

“This is just an attempt to share with you the bits of information I have been gathering since the floods started.”

He said information about the situation of the church’s communities and institutions was very scant because institutions were without power and even the mobile phone connections were not working well.

“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. ”

Going towards 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.”

Smith said that the situation to the east of Honiara has been the cause of much worry for him.

  • “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.
  • St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School 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.

Smith said, “Of course in all three places the food gardens have been destroyed.”

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