King tides and storm surges causing panic among the people of Taro
Some 50 years after its establishment, Taro, capital of Choiseul Province, made history becoming the first township in the Solomon Islands and the Pacific to commit to re-location because of the threat from disasters and climate change.
Progress toward re-establishing the town on the mainland is progressing, but work is slow and the project is behind schedule.
King tides and storm surges are becoming more frequent and causing panic among the people of Taro, while a tsunami would be devastating.
“The water has risen and come into the island,” says Mcleen Biliki, one of about 1000 residents of Taro.
“It is not like what we see is waves coming into the land but just sea water encroaching the island”.
Choiseul Bay is the site for the new township and the relocation of Taro project is called the Choiseul Bay Township project. Project Coordinator Isaac Lekelalu says the people on Taro are faced with a grim situation.
“Should there be a big earthquake, it generates tsunami,” he says.
“If that happens, models prove Taro Island – most of it will be under water.
“That’s my fear.
“It can happen anytime.”
There is no evacuation centre on the island and the National Disaster Management Office says the concerns are warranted.
“The location of Taro is very close to the earthquake trench and if you look at earthquake history around that area, it is quite frequent,” says NDMO Director, Loti Yates.
“One big one would generate a tsunami and therefore the idea of re-locating to the mainland is a good one and one which the government should support.”
Choiseul Premier, Watson Qoloni is calling on the government to deem the move a national priority project.
The story was produced by Georgina Kekea, published at ABC on 28 May 2021, reposted via PACNEWS.