Last week I was shocked to find out that Tikopia, a small volcanic island in the South Pacific had felt the full grunt of cyclone Zoe. Besides the fact that a cyclone hitting any place in the world is pretty disastrous, this is a little closer to home for me (also having experienced a few myself).
Many years ago, 17 to be exact, I actually lived on this small island which is part of the Solomon Islands for a month. Although no long period, I remember it vividly. An island in the middle of nowhere is probably the best way to describe it. Surrounded by coral reef, this remote volcanic island is only accessible by boat from the capital of the Solomon Islands, Honiara on Guadalcanal.
My life there follows this post.
Although it is a long way from home for most of you travellers out there, this kind of disaster will remain in the minds of the Tikopian people for a long time, even though reports are suggesting there are no casualties. There are hardly any houses left standing, their fresh water supplies are contaminated, their food supplies (being fresh) are probably devastated by the 350 kms/hour winds.
Not much is being done to help the people of Tikopia. The Australian government has provided some financial aid to send a boat with supplies to the island (by now it will have arrived) but the people of Tikopia (and neighbouring Anuta which was also hit by the full force of the cyclone) will need a lot more to start to rebuild their lives on their island. I have managed to find some parties which are able to help the Tikopians as they are located in the Solomons and I would like to post some information regarding these organizations here (see the rest of this thread).
If anyone feels they can help out, I am sure the people of Tikopia and Anuta will deeply appreciate this!
If not, I think it is important to be aware of the larger world around you.... the world doesn't end at the border as I am sure all of you travellers know!
[ Edit: Please see the following post about life on Tikopia ]
From a contact in the Solomon Islands:
There was an ad in today's paper regarding people who want to help with relief efforts. The ad was place by Oxfam and World Vision. I was able to talk to ... , the coordinator for Oxfam here, and she tells me that both Oxfam and World Vision have offices worldwide where donations could be made. Alternately, money can be sent by telegraphic transfer directly into the account of Oxfam using the following instructions.
Our bank details in case you decide to TT money across are as follows:
P O Box 1377
Our account is at
Account details: Oxfam Australia Vehicle Account
[ Edit: Removed name contact ]
Initial reports from the Medical Team on Tikopia at 6pm this evening confirmed that seventy households were completely destroyed.
All domestic items such as cooking utensils, clothes, beddings, etc belonging to the seventy households were washed away.
It was also relayed to the Central Control Group (CCG) that the most immediate need is food, which is addressed by the relief supplies on the way on board MV Isabella estimated to arrive at Tikopia at 3am Monday morning.
The Team Leader Dr Oberlie confirmed that there was also damage to the water supply system:
'There are some water sources contaminated by dead leaves
and debris with foul smelling water' said Dr Oberlie.
There is also a non-contaminated water supply available on the island and also there are water containers on board the Isabella to address any short fall. The Patrol Boat Auki will leave Tikopia for Anuta on Monday night. The Medical Team will first liase with the MV Isabella assessment team for a briefing and will help to unload supplies. The Patrol Boat will take on board new supplies and will depart for Anuta. It is expected to arrive in Anuta on Tuesday morning where an initial assessment will be undertaken.
Arrival in Anuta at first-light is important to allow a safe beach landing for the vessels dingy.
The radio in the clinic on Tikopia has been repaired and is now
[ Edit: From a contact in the Solomons ]
Great post Samuel,
Just thought I'd add some of my own experiences (I'm Samuel's brother
in case anyone's wondering):
1. The boat we travelled on to the island had a round hull, meaning it
rocked like crazy on the way there.. it was also terrible weather
travelling there and we got completely sick on the way! I remember our
youngest brother, Eric getting off the boat at the island before Tikopia
and physically rocking back and forth on the pier.. a very strange sight
2. That game with the cocunuts was COOL!!
Most other things you mentioned are also memories to me, although
perhaps a little less clear considering I was a few years younger!
(and yes, I was the crazy tooth swallowing one!)
The house design that you mentioned is particularly interesting,
considering this cyclone.. by designing the houses so close to the ground,
they are actually far more cyclone proof than regular leaf houses.. they
also cover the leaves with chicken wire, to stop them blowing off easily.
And, although many houses were destroyed, it is a testimony to their
design that many also stayed standing!!
I'd also just like to point out that one of the main reasons these people
need aid at the moment, is that all their food supply for the next few
years has pretty much been killed! Most cocounut trees and other
vegetation are destroyed and considering the people live off the land, it
is will be a very hard few years, while things grow back! Of course, they
do have fish, but that is hardly a balanced diet by itself..
Just to finish it off from my side; here are the websites for Oxfam and Worldvision, both reputable companies in this field.
The full scoop by the journalist who was waiting for the cyclone in Vanuatu can be found at: