Following two major cyclones in the Solomon Islands, the Salesian Mission Office in Australia has launched an appeal to assist schools, families and children who have lost their homes.
The government of the Solomon Islands has declared a State of Emergency after the two cyclones hit the region. The second cyclone brought extraordinarily long and intense rains in the capital, Honiara, and the island of Guadalcanal. The Matanikau River burst its banks sweeping away houses, roads and bridges. At least 17 people died in the floods and tens of thousands are homeless.
Brother Michael Lynch, Director of the Salesian Mission Office, said he had received emails from Frs Dominic and Ambrose, from the Don Bosco Technical Institute, Henderson, from Fr Joseph (Don Bosco Rural Training Centre, Tetere), and Bishop Capelli from Gizo, outlining the damage.
There was extensive flood damage, to houses, buildings and vegetable gardens, as well as machinery, and electricity infrastructure was damaged.
Fr Ambrose Pereira wrote, "The Solomon Islands seem to be moving from one disaster to the next – be they natural or man-made. While there is progress in the nation, it is slow and one has to have patience to encourage it to happen.
"With a little over 40 per cent literacy, education is the key to a brighter future that cannot be compromised. Don Bosco Technical Institute, Henderson, has currently postponed its opening for Term 2 as travel will be difficult for many students.
"The Salesians are looking at possibilities to ensure that students who have to travel great distances have the possibility of staying at the Institute. Currently, it is a day school and does not have boarding, dining or sanitary facilities."
Donations to assist the rebuilding project can be sent to the Salesian Missions, PO Box 264, Ascot Vale, Vic. 3032. Please earmark donations to "Solomon Islands Relief".