Officer recalls landslide ordeal - Solomon Star News

Officer recalls landslide ordeal

11 September 2019

A Correctional Service Officer (CSO) on duty yesterday morning has recalled the moment the landslide occurred at Gizo, Western province that claimed the life of a mother.

The incident occurred just after 7am in the morning as a result of heavy rain throughout the weekend.

As a result of the heavy showers a portion of land from the hilltop ridge where the Western Provincial Premier house is located broke loose and slid into the Gizo Correctional Service compound located at the eastern side of the ridge.

Speaking to the paper yesterday the duty officer described the horrific incident which hit the compound with a sudden swooshing sound followed by a thunder like crack from the top of the hillside.

“The landslide caused the large expanse of the loose red clay soil to break loose, hit the side of the home and shifted the house by removing it from its foundation which then fell to one side,” he said. 

He said retain walls to protect the house as a precaution to such landslides were not damaged.

A visit to the scene yesterday saw the loose soil had pushed down the eastern side of the hill towards the housing compound ramming against the house and taking it off its foundation.

Inmates from the Correctional Services also witnessed the incident and shouted at that time. They also were shocked by the horror of the incident.

The mother and her daughter were downstairs under the house when they were caught by the oncoming loose soil.

The mother suffered sustained injuries to her head and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other victims including the father, daughter and two sons were rushed to the Gizo hospital immediately for medical attention.

Two other landslide incidents were confirmed to have happened at different locations in Gizo with the first occurring around 5am early Tuesday morning and the third later at 2pm in the afternoon.

Though causing structural damage to one house it was fortunate the other landslides did not claim any lives.

Meanwhile, 18 other families living at the Correctional Service quarters have been evacuated to the Gizo primary school and the Women’s Center Resource for safety reasons until the weather improves.

Authorities have advised resident to stay clear of landslide prone areas along hillsides as a threat may still be likely though the rains have subsided.  

Meanwhile, doctors said the father and his daughter aged 16 are in critical condition and are currently receiving medical attention in Gizo hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) awaiting further treatment as they are closely monitored.