Christians help Solomon Islands tsunami victims

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Posted by Mission Network News

These children and adults from Kindu sought shelter in a temporary camp in Munda, Solomon Islands (World Vision Photo).

Solomon Islands (MNN) -- World Vision is leading aid efforts in the Solomon Islands after a devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami hit the South Pacific nation April 2. Initial reports estimated tens of thousands faced homelessness, and the death toll was expected to climb.

However, World Vision's Rachel Wolff says the destruction wasn't as bad as originally thought. "We are estimating that about 5,000 to 6,000 people have lost shelter or food. That could be a bit higher because this is an area with 90,000 people, so we're still unsure of that as well. We may know more within the next few days. We still think that as many as half the population [may be homeless]."

It's been over a week since the 8.0 magnitude quake hit the area. While World Vision has been able to get supplies into the region, Wolff says they've faced other problems. "The challenge for World Vision and other aid agencies has been distributing [the aid]. Boats are the main way of transportation in between islands, but most of them had been destroyed by the tsunami. Yesterday, World Vision was able to get two boats to use."

While providing aid is a priority, Wolff says since that they're a Christian organization, they have other priorities, as well. "Faith motivates everything we do. People know that we are Christians. They know why we are doing what we're doing. We certainly partner with churches. Our hope is to be the hands and feet of Christ, especially in these life or death situations."

According to Wolff, Christians in New Zealand and Australia have responded generously to the needs in the region. Since the Solomon Islands is a popular holiday destination, many have felt the need to help.

Wolff says the situation still needs your help because many of the victims are children. "About half the population are children. In fact, about 41% are younger than the age of 15."