DISASTER OFFICIALS DELAY CLOSURE OF EVACUATION CENTRES

Director of the National Disaster Management Office Loti Yates. Photo: Courtesy of SPREP.

Director of the National Disaster Management Office Loti Yates. Photo: Courtesy of SPREP.

Disaster officials have delayed plans to close the remaining evacuation centres, which were opened after the April floods.

National Disaster Council Director, Loti Yates told Pacific Beat the council has been given until June 21 to clear the remaining centres.

He says the closures were delayed by budgetary problems, but he expects NDC operations to be back on schedule soon.

Mr Yates adds the government will be making funds available shortly so NDC should be able to continue the repatriation process.

The April floods left thousands homeless, many of whom were living in squatter settlements close to the rivers and waterways around the capital Honiara.

Meanwhile, more than 1-thousand people are still in emergency accommodation – some unable to return to their destroyed homes, others holding out for compensation after rumors the government would provide cash grants to victims.

Yates says authorities are aiming to repatriate people back to their province of origin, which will be a “challenge”.

He says many appear unwilling to return to their home provinces after settling in Honiara for the long-term.

He says the NDC is dealing with people who have lived in Honiara and have children attending schools and doing their education in Honiara.

He says it is likely to be a problem because people will refuse to leave because it is compromising the education of their children and the services they are enjoying in Honiara.

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