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World Vision is moving people to higher ground following an 8.0 earthquake and tidal surge impacting the Solomon Islands

Media contact:

Laura Blank
World Vision Media Relations Director
708.872.5265 (c)

Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS (February 6, 2013) International humanitarian agency World Vision is ready to respond to the 8.0 earthquake that rocked Solomon Islands today and is preparing a relief response for survivors in affected areas.

World Vision staff nearly 400 miles away in the capital of Honiara felt the massive tremor and are contacting all World Vision program areas, including a Temotu Early Childhood Care and Development program on the Santa Cruz, near the epicenter.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning, and reported a 3-foot tsunami hit Lata Wharf, in Santa Cruz. The tsunami warning for the region was issued a few hours later.

The 8.0 quake was followed soon after by one measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale.

“Our staff in Temotu province felt the quake and within five minutes there were a number of wave surges which flooded the runway there,” says Dr. Andrew Catford, World Vision Solomon Islands country program director.

According to Jared Berends, operations director for World Vision in the Solomon Islands, it is likely that several villages close to the airport have been severely impacted.

“World Vision is working to confirm the extent of damage and understand the immediate humanitarian needs. More tidal surges are expected in neighboring province of Makira, and the capital Honiara is reportedly at risk. World Vision is mobilizing children and families to move them to higher ground.”

An 8.1 earthquake hit in 2007, killing more than 50 people. The Solomon Islands are low-lying and vulnerable to increased extreme weather conditions.

New Zealand Civil Defense has New Zealand’s north island on tsunami alert. Other Pacific nations are also on high alert.

Word Vision has been present in the Solomon Islands for more than 30 years, working across five provinces on disaster risk reduction, health, education, water and sanitation and gender programs. Projects are funded by private donors, businesses, foundations and government grants.

World Vision is working to assess the situation and will respond quickly to assist people affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Pre-positioned relief supplies and goods are already in the country as it is prone to natural disasters.

As a child-focused organization, World Vision is particularly concerned with the welfare of children. When emergencies occur, children are often the most vulnerable to injury, exploitation, abuse and separation from caregivers. Child-friendly spaces are one way that World Vision can prioritize the care and protection of children in an emergency.

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About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews