A heavy rain alert has been issued for parts of Solomon Islands still recovering from severe flooding earlier this month.
Solomon Islands Meteorological Service issued the alert for all provinces including Temotu, Malaita, Central, Isabel and the Western provinces.
It warns that heavy rain could lead to flash flooding to communities close to rivers, streams and low-lying areas.
Climate adviser to the Pacific Regional Environment Program, Neville Koop, who is in Fiji, says the rain is caused by a week tropical depression close to the Solomons.
“The tropical depression is associated with the resurgence of monsoons across Papua New Guinea and the Solomons stretching across towards Vanuatu,” he told Radio Australia.
Mr Koop says he doesn’t expect the tropical depression to develop into a cyclone.
“It is fairly weak. It is not expected to intensify but it is producing fairly widespread rains across the Solomon since yesterday,” he said.
“Solomons is known for having very intense rainfall but this event will be fairly modest by Solomon Islands standards I think.”
‘Potential for flooding’
The country is still recovering from severe floods which swept through the capital, Honiara, and Guadalcanal province on April 3.
Mr Koop says areas that have been affected by the recent floods will see quite a bit of rain in the next day or two.
“I don’t think you will see flooding of the rivers to the extent we saw a month or so ago,” he said.
“That sort of rain is not expected with this event but certainly there is potential for flooding around creeks and streams.”
Mr Koop warns residents in low-lying areas to stay alert for any eventuality and move their belongings to higher grounds.
“Anyone in low-lying areas around drains, rivers, creeks that are smallish rivers can be affected by heavy rains,” he said.
“They should listen for the local advisory from the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service. They will give you more details about the specific rainfall you will see in your location.
“If you are in a low-lying area, make sure you are not caught near the open streams and creeks.”
Evacuees encouraged to return home
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has warned people not to listen to rumours promising they will get cash support if they stay in evacuation centres.
The NDMO has been able to close five evacuation centres and allow many students to resume classes.
However, several thousand people are still in emergency housing in several schools.
Dr Melchior Mataki, the chairman of the National Disaster Council, says his office is focusing on using humanitarian aid to get people back into their homes because cash grants can be abused.
He says the NDMO will provide materials and other tools to help people rebuild their homes and restart their livelihoods.
“We want to do what we can to help those who need it,” Mr Mataki said in a statement.
“Where possible, we will be providing assistance to people from their homes rather than the evacuation centres. This way we will be able to properly assess what is needed.”
On Thursday the government of Nauru announced it had donated $AUD30,000 to support the Solomons in its recovery efforts.
In a letter to Solomon Island’s Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, Nauru’s President Baron Waqa expressed deep condolences and a speedy recovery for the nation.
Jenny Barile, Acting High Commissioner for Solomon Islands in Canberra, says the donation will go a long way towards her government’s rebuilding efforts.