Grandmother's appeal to help disaster-hit islands

Dorset Echo: DISASTER: Devastation in the Soloman Islands following tropical storms and earthquakes DISASTER: Devastation in the Soloman Islands following tropical storms and earthquakes

A grandmother who established links with the Solomon islands two years ago in memory of her late husband is appealing for help for the disaster-hit islands.

Pat McEvoy went to the islands in 2012 to give girls there scholarships to honour her husband John who worked as a teacher and missionary there for 18 years.

She has kept in touch since her visit and friends have shown her the devastation wreaked by tropical storms and earthquakes which have left 50,000 homeless.

Mrs McEvoy said she is amazed there is hardly a mention of the disaster on the news.

She said: “I am in regular touch with the Solomon Islands and was dismayed to find that in the past few weeks there have been torrential tropical storms and earthquakes in the capital Honiara.

“Despite the Solomon Islands being a member of the Commonwealth this news has hardly got a mention, except on BBC News - Asia. “My friend thinks there are 27 confirmed dead but they are still digging bodies out of the mud.

“Because they have frequent earthquakes there the houses are on stilts so all the houses just got washed away and all the bridges have gone and there are 50,000 homeless.

“A day or two after the torrential rain they had two massive earthquakes “Now dysentery and disease is setting in, which it always does. But the people there are incredible and just get on with things. They have very, very little and the little they have they have lost.”

Mrs McEvoy has already transferred funds online, raised through the generosity of Bridport Catholic Parish, WI, and friends and family.

She said: “This money I transferred to the Diocese of Honiara and within 48 hours the Chancery Office obtained rice, noodles and necessary items. This was distributed without delay to people in dire need.

“There was no time or money lost on admin – the food and items were quickly made into parcels and they just went out in canoes and distributed them without further ado.

“That is much quicker than most aid agencies.

“I find it amazing that there hasn’t been more mention of it.”

She has also organised a fundraising event on Saturday to send more money for disaster relief.

On Friday members of the West Dorset Ceilidh Band Up and Running are donating their services for a Ceilidh in aid of the Disaster Relief Fund for Honiara.

The event is at St Swithun's Church Hall from 7pm to 11pm with tickets £5, under sixteen £3, available from Bridport Music in South Street - or pay on the door.

Light refreshments, including soft drinks and wine will be available.

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