02 April 2007

Solomons Tsunami

A tsunami is the last thing that the Solomon Islands (or any country) needs at the moment but it's happened there, with a death toll, according to the ABC's latest report of at least 20 people.

Facts are hard to come by at present so the media has, in some instances, trivialised or distorted the situation by running stories about the effects or possible effects of the earthquake- generated tsunami on Australia. There are legitimate reasons for alerting residents of Far North Queensland (though even this has been criticised but it's drawing the longest of bows to suggest, as has been reported,
that Bondi and other beaches as far south as eastern Tasmania needed to be closed.

Geological instability in the Solomons comes on top of the political instability there. Australia and New Zealand are prominent members of RAMSI (Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands) , which may now, at least in the short term , have to expand its role to include natural as well as political disaster relief. If anything positive is to emerge from the wreckage it might be that the various people of the country are encouraged to colloborate to help rebuild the damaged areas. This has happened elsewhere, eg always after natural disasters in Australia and in the wider region after the Boxing Day tsunami, tsunami, but I don't know enough about the current situation in the Solomons do more than hope (and to contribute to disaster relief appeals).

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