Solomon Islands UN continues to provide aid as 5500 displaced in wake

9 April 2007After a deadly tsunami struck the Solomon Islands one week ago, the United Nations continues to provide aid and technical assistance in the wake of the natural disaster which has displaced at least 5,500 people in the South Pacific nation, the world body’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. After a deadly tsunami struck the Solomon Islands one week ago, the United Nations continues to provide aid and technical assistance in the wake of the natural disaster which has displaced at least 5,500 people in the South Pacific nation, the world body’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. According to Government figures, 35 people have died after last week’s tsunami which was caused by an earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale, whose epicentre was 345 kilometres northwest of the country’s capital. Approximately 1,500 people who were forced to flee their homes are now residing in 12 camps around the town of Gizo. Sanitation remains a problem in the camps around Gizo, as streams and rainwater are the main source of water for the displaced. Since many water tanks and pipes in the town were damaged in the earthquake, news tanks have since been installed. Also, shops in Gizo, despite retaining stocks of food, are not yet open for business, but are expected to begin selling items in the next few days which will increase the food supply. The UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team dispatched to the Solomon Islands is working closely with the Government in bolstering coordination and information management, while the UN Resident Coordinator based in Fiji, Richard Dictus, is in Honiara to meet with UN agencies on the ground and officials. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has sent emergency health kits, as health officials continue to monitor diarrhoea-related illnesses, malaria and measles. OCHA said that a measles and vitamin A campaign will be launched next week. The Government reports that there are enough medical professionals and supplies to administer to the current needs. However, the number of injured may climb as people from disaster-affected communities return to their homes from higher ground and go to hospitals, OCHA said. Five medical teams from France, Taiwan, Canada, Australia and the Red Cross have been deployed to support the Ministry of Health, and the French military has airlifted drugs and other medical supplies to Gizo. read more

CMHC says the annual pace of housing starts slowed in May

OTTAWA — Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the pace of housing starts slowed last month compared with April.The seasonally adjusted annual rate for May came in at 188,570 units for the month, down from 191,388 in April.The six-month moving average of the seasonally adjusted annual rate was 191,000 in May compared with 194,950 in April.The pace of urban starts slowed by 2.5 per cent in May to 170,432 units as multiple-unit starts fell 5.7 per cent to 110,834 and single-detached starts increased 4.2 per cent to 59,598.CMHC expects home building to slow, but prices to keep risingHot Toronto housing market got even hotter in May as warnings mountThe annual pace of urban starts fell in British Columbia and the Prairies, but increased in Ontario, Atlantic Canada, and Quebec.Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18,138 units.Meanwhile, Statistics Canada says the value of building permits issued by municipalities fell 0.3 per cent to $6.9 billion in April, the second consecutive monthly move lower.The agency noted the drop was due to lower construction intentions in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.Statcan says the value of residential permits fell 1.8 per cent to $4.3 billion in April as the permits for multi-family buildings fell 6.2 per cent to $1.9 billion, while single-family buildings gained 1.8 per cent at $2.5 billion.Non-residential building permits climbed 2.5 per cent to $2.5 billion in April as institutional building permits gained 15.4 per cent at $695 million and commercial permits added 2.5 per cent at $1.5 billion. Industrial building permits fell 16.5 per cent to $346 million in April, the lowest level since October 2013. read more