Caritas Australia concerned about impacts of riots in Honiara

Civil unrest impacting vulnerable communities in the Solomon Islands

Rose Clough, Caritas Australia’s Program Quality Coordinator for Solomon Islands, discusses the impact that the civil unrest will have on communities already struggling with poverty and inequality.

Protests have broken out in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, prompting Caritas Australia to raise concerns about the impacts of the unrest on access to food and livelihoods.  

The Solomon Islands is one of the least developed nations in the Pacific, already facing a combination of challenging factors: a lack of basic infrastructure, vulnerability to natural disasters, civil unrest and widespread poverty. The country also faces considerable inequality, with much of the country’s wealth and infrastructure centered in Honiara, leaving a stark difference between the capital and regions.   

“Seeing the protests unfold in front of us has been alarming, but what really worries me are the impacts on the communities we’ve been working with for so long,” says Rose Everlyn Clough, Caritas Australia’s Program Quality Coordinator for Solomon Islands, based in Honiara.  

“I’ve been working with some very remote communities, and I know that they will face even more challenges the longer that this continues. For communities that are already struggling without access to clean water, or with limited livelihoods options, these kinds of events just create more uncertainty and more disruption.” 

“We hope that the protests ease down soon so that we can continue our work, and we ask for support from Australians to make sure that those who are already struggling to access food and clean water don’t go without during this period.” 

Building were burnt down during days of civil unrest in the capital, Honiara. Photo: Rose Clough/Caritas Australia.

“The longer the protests go on, the more the supply chain is disrupted. This means that communities might not be able to buy or trade goods, including food and vital supplies for hygiene and sanitation, which are already a problem in the country. For families already living close to the poverty line this could push them under, and remote communities will become even more isolated.”

Emma Dawson, Caritas Australia’s Pacific Manager

Fires seen from Rose Clough's home. Photo credit: Rose Clough/Caritas Australia Solomon Islands (CASI).
Fires seen from Rose Clough's home. Photo credit: Rose Clough/Caritas Australia Solomon Islands (CASI).

Caritas Australia has been working in the Solomon Islands for over 20 years, and continues to work with local communities to increase access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, as well as spreading life-saving information about the importance of COVID-19 treatment and vaccination.

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