Solomons school damaged by earthquake

The principal's house is off its stilts and has sustained major damage.

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An earthquake caused significant damage to the Bekabeka Adventist Community High School on Friday afternoon, October 15, in Solomon Islands’ Western Province just east of Ngatokae Island.

The epicentre was between 25 and 30 kilometres from the closest point of land and communities, which happened to be the boarding school.

ADRA Solomon Islands director Stephen Tasker sent Raynick Jack, ADRA SI’s emergency management coordinator, on the MV Mariner to discover what damage had occurred at the school and surrounding communities and put together a report.

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With 23 out of 28 homes on the campus damaged in some way—two buildings completely fallen, including the principal’s house and the canteen, and seven seriously damaged—five staff families have had to live in the dining hall, one group in a classroom and the principal is staying in the transit flat.

The dormitories had some damage but were still habitable, however six toilets and six showers were also broken creating sanitation issues.

One student member was inside the canteen when it fell down, knocking her to the ground unconscious. She was pulled out of the building by some male students and revived shortly after.

ADRA SI loaned the school five tarpaulins and assorted ropes to assist with shelter if needed.

A team from nearby Batuna vocational college (building, plumbing and electrical staff with some students) went to assess the damage and help with some repairs.

“The administration would like to thank you all for prayers and especially ADRA Solomons for being the first to positively respond by sending an officer to assess the situation,” said Bekabeka principal Encie Dionie.

“We also thank God that no lives were lost and that both students and staff families are well. The classrooms are also intact and for that we are truly thankful.”

At least two houses will need rebuilding and others repaired.

Bekabeka is a boarding high school with 249 students, 18 teaching staff and nine support staff.

For more information on how to assist Bekabeka, you can contact the principal at edionie@gmail.com.

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