Solomon Islands: missionaries fear epidemic

 Salesian missionaries have expressed fears that epidemic could break out in the Solomon Islands devastated by cyclone Zoe two weeks ago. Fr Luciano Capelli, who administers the 'Don Bosco Henderson' in the capital, Honiara said that no one had been killed or seriously injured on Tikopia, Anuta and Fataka, but the 3,000 strong population needed "everything". Storms had literally blown away most houses and devastated the vegetation, and islanders are now sheltering in caves with little food or medical supplies. He told the Missionary News Service this morning: "A small boat, the third since the beginning of the rescue operations, left today from Honiara to reach Tikopia, loaded with sacks of rice and flour. Meanwhile a rescue team led by a Swiss doctor is already on site to try and prevent an epidemic outbreak". Fr Luciano said another serious problem was the lack of adequate boats to transport supplies. The delivery of aid by air is impossible since Tikopia does not have a runway. It also lacks telephone lines and electricity and any administrative offices. Caritas Australia announced plans to January 2 to bring aid to the islands.

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