Hundreds affected as floods sweep through Guadalcanal plains

The flooded Mberande River. Photo: Carlwyn Tengemoana

Heavy rain last night caused flooding in Guadalcanal Province that damaged buildings and gardens.

Floodwaters from the Bokokibo River reportedly reached as high as one meter in Niu Tenabuti village of Paripao ward in Northeast Guadalcanal.

Deputy Speaker of the Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly Andrew Rayboy said the more than 680 people in the village have been affected by the flood since 6 p.m. yesterday.

“Those who have low houses moved to higher buildings, and some managed to swim across and go to the bottom of the hills where the clinic is,” he said.

Gardens in the village are inundated with water, and Mr Rayboy called on the National Disaster Council, the provincial disaster committee and police to respond to the situation. He said he hopes emergency food and water supplies will be delivered to area residents.

As a heavy rain warning issued this morning by the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service is in effect for Guadalcanal Province, Mr Rayboy said people must continue to take precautions.

They have to find a safe place now,” he said. “We don’t know if the rain will stop or not, so they have to move out from that place.”

The Matepono, Ngalimbiu, Mbalisuna and Mberande rivers in the Guadalcanal plains also flooded.

Martin Sopage, former Member of Parliament for North Guadalcanal, said most people in the area have been affected.

The newly constructed Mberande bridge carved up by the floodwaters. Photo: Carlwyn Tengemoana

Further up in the highlands at Malango, Central Guadalcanal, two roadside stalls were swept away and a number of other buildings damaged by last night’s flooding.

Floodwaters from the two rivers in the area reportedly destroyed food gardens and swept through the newly opened Mataruka church.

Charity Adam of Mataruka village said her house was submerged in water from the flooding that started around midnight.

A market house in Malango damaged by the flooding. Photo: Josh Fangalea

Ms Adam said floodwaters washed away her gardens and poultry farm.

“Around 1 a.m. we started to notice the water level starting to rise, reaching our house, so we managed to move some of our stuff from the veranda, but all our other belongings were washed away,” she said. “Not only was our chicken house destroyed, but our food gardens were washed away, and my watermelon farm is also now underwater.”

By Lowen Sei

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