Volume 95, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Extreme weather events are common and increasing in intensity in the southwestern Pacific region. Health impacts from cyclones and tropical storms cause acute injuries and infectious disease outbreaks. Defining population vulnerability to extreme weather events by examining a recent flood in Honiara, Solomon Islands, can help stakeholders and policymakers adapt development to reduce future threats. The acute and subacute health impacts following the April 2014 floods were defined using data obtained from hospitals and clinics, the Ministry of Health and in-country World Health Organization office in Honiara. Geographical information system (GIS) was used to assess morbidity and mortality, and vulnerability of the health system infrastructure and households in Honiara. The April flash floods were responsible for 21 acute deaths, 33 injuries, and a diarrhea outbreak that affected 8,584 people with 10 pediatric deaths. A GIS vulnerability assessment of the location of the health system infrastructure and households relative to rivers and the coastline identified 75% of the health infrastructure and over 29% of Honiara's population as vulnerable to future hydrological events. Honiara, Solomon Islands, is a rapidly growing, highly vulnerable urban Pacific Island environment. Evaluation of the mortality and morbidity from the April 2014 floods as well as the infectious disease outbreaks that followed allows public health specialists and policy makers to understand the health system and populations vulnerability to future shocks. Understanding the negative impacts natural disaster have on people living in urban Pacific environments will help the government as well as development partners in crafting resilient adaptation development.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Alliance Development Works and United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security, 2014. World Risk Report 2014. Available at: http://worldriskreport.entwicklung-hilft.de/WorldRiskReport.435.0.html. Accessed January 2015.
  2. Keener V, Marra J, Finucane M, Spooner D, Smith M, , eds., 2012. Climate Change and Pacific Islands: Indicators and Impacts. Report for the 2012 Pacific Islands. Regional climate assessment. Washington, DC: Island Press.
  3. World Bank, 2013. Acting on Climate Change and Disaster Risk for the Pacific. Available at: http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2013/11/20/000442464_20131120105129/Rendered/PDF/808690Revised000Box379874B00PUBLIC0.pdf. Accessed July 2015.
  4. IPCC SR Field CB, Barros V, Stocker TF, Qin D, Dokken DJ, Ebi KL, Mastrandrea MD, Mach KJ, Plattner G-K, Allen SK, Tignor M, Midgley PM, , 2012. Managing risk of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. , eds. Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 582.
  5. IPCC AR5 Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner G-K, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM, , 2013. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. , eds. Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1535.
  6. Knudson T, McBride J, Chan J, Emanuel K, Holland G, Landsea C, Held I, Kossin J, Srivastava A, Sugi M, , 2010. Tropical cyclones and climate change. Nat Geosci 3: 157163.[Crossref]
  7. Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, 2014. Climate Variability, Extremes and Change in the Western Tropical Pacific: New Science and Updated Country Reports. Available at: http://www.pacificclimatechangescience.org/publications/reports/climate-variability-extremes-and-change-in-the-western-tropical-pacific-2014/. Accessed May 2015.
  8. World Health Organization, European Union, 2010. Extreme Weather Events and Public Health Responses. Springer-Verlag.
  9. Spickett JT, Katscherian D, , 2014. Health impacts of climate change in the Solomon Islands: an assessment and adaptation action plan. Glob J Health Sci 261273.
  10. McIver L, Woodward A, Davies S, Tibwe T, Iddings S, , 2014. Assessment of the health impacts of climate change in Kiribati. Int J Environ Res Public Health 1: 52245240.[Crossref]
  11. Bannister-Tyrrell M, Williams C, Ritchie SA, Rau G, Lindesay J, Mercer G, Harley D, , 2013. Weather-driven variation in dengue activity in Australia examined using a process-based modeling approach. Am J Trop Med Hyg 88: 6572.[Crossref]
  12. Spickett JT, Katscherian D, McIver L, , 2013. Health impacts of climate change in Vanuatu: an assessment and adaptation action plan. Glob J Health Sci 5: 4253.
  13. Morrow G, Bowen K, , 2014. Accounting for health in climate change policies: a case study of Fiji. Glob Health Action 7: 23550.[Crossref]
  14. United Nations Development Program, 2014. Human Development Report 2014. Available at: http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/human-development-report-2014. Accessed January 2015.
  15. Solomon Islands National Statistical Office, 2009. Solomon Islands Census Data 2009 National Report. Available at: http://www.spc.int/prism/solomons/. Accessed January 2015.
  16. United Nations Country Data, 2015. Solomon Islands. Available at: http://data.un.org/CountryProfile.aspx?crName=solomon%20islands. Accessed October 2015.
  17. Ebi K, , 2013. WHO Protecting Health from Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO Press.
  18. The Interagency Working Group on Climate Change and Health, 2014. A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change: A report Outlining the Research Needs on the Human Health effects of Climate Change. San Bernadino, CA: Environmental Health Perspectives and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
  19. WHO Western Pacific Region Solomon Islands Office, 2014. Data from: Forrest Jones, Solomon Islands Diarrhea Outbreak Health Situation Report One. June 5, 2014. Available at: http://www.wpro.who.int/southpacific/programmes/communicable_diseases/disease_surveillance_response/Sitrep-No1SolomonIslands.pdf. Accessed April 2015.
  20. Guha-Sapir D, Hoyois P, Below R, , 2015. Annual Disaster Statistical Review 2014. Brussels, Belgium: Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, Universite. Catholique de Louvain.
  21. Britton N, , 1987. Disaster in the south Pacific: impact of tropical cyclone “Nomu” on the Solomon Islands, May 1986. Disasters 11: 120133.[Crossref]
  22. Blong R, Radford D, , 1993. Deaths in natural hazards in the Solomon Islands. Disasters 17: 111.[Crossref]
  23. Radford D, Blong R, , 1991. Assessment of natural hazards in the Solomon Islands and implications for other Pacific Island countries. ADRO 4: 39.
  24. D'Aubert A, Nunn P, , 2012. Furious Winds and Parched Islands: Tropical Cyclones (1558–1970) and Droughts (1722–1987) in the Pacific. New South Wales, Australia: Xlibris Corporation.
  25. Yeo S, Blong R, , 2010. Fiji's worst natural disaster: the 1931 hurricane and flood. Disasters 34: 657683.[Crossref]
  26. Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, 2012. Climate change in the Pacific: scientific assessment and new research. Vol. 2: Country Reports. Chapter 13: Solomon Islands. Available at: http://www.pacificclimatechangescience.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Volume-2-country-reports.pdf.
  27. Bich T, Quang L, Ha L, Hanh T, Guha-Sapir D, , 2011. Impacts of flood on health: epidemiologic evidence from Hanoi, Vietnam. Glob Health Action 4: 6356.[Crossref]
  28. Kunii O, Nakamura S, Abdur R, Wakai S, , 2002. The impact on health and risk factors of the diarrhoea epidemics in the 1998 Bangladesh floods. Public Health 116: 6874.[Crossref]
  29. Alderman K, Turner L, Tong S, , 2013. Assessment of the health impacts of the 2011 summer floods in Brisbane. Disaster Med Public Health Prep 7: 380386.[Crossref]
  30. Milojevic A, Armstrong B, Hashizume M, McAllister K, Faruque A, Yunus M, Kim Streatfield P, Moji K, Wilkinson P, , 2012. Health effects of flooding in rural Bangladesh. Epidemiology 23: 107115.[Crossref]
  31. Barnett J, John C, , 2010. Climate Change and Small Island States: Power, Knowledge and the South Pacific. New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.
  32. Story D, Connell J, , 2013. The Pacific Islands: Environment and Society. Chapter 26: Urban Challenges. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.
  33. Lauer M, Albert S, Aswain S, Halpern B, Campanella L, LaRose D, , 2013. Globalization, Pacific Islands, and the paradox of resilience. Glob Environ Change 23: 4050.[Crossref]
  34. Rose J, Wu F, Levy B, Patz J, , 2015. Waterborne and foodborne diseases. , eds. Climate Change and Public Health. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 157172.[Crossref]
  35. Levy B, Patz J, , eds., 2015. Climate Change and Public Health. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  36. McLellan S, Hollis E, Depas M, Van Dyke M, Harris J, Scopel C, , 2007. Distribution and fate of Escherichia coli in lake Michigan following contamination with urban storm water and combined sewer overflows. J Great Lakes Res 33: 566580.[Crossref]
  37. Ali Khan F, Ali J, Ullah R, Ayaz S, , 2014. Bacteriological quality assessment of drinking water available at the flood affected areas of Peshawar. Toxicol Environ Chem 95: 14481454.[Crossref]
  38. Cann K, Thomas D, Salmon R, Wyn-Jones A, Kay D, , 2013. Systematic review: extreme water-related weather events and waterborne disease. Epidemiol Infect 141: 671686.[Crossref]
  39. Weinberger D, Baroux N, Grangeon J, Ko A, Goarant C, , 2014. El Nino southern oscillation and leptospirosis outbreaks in New Caledonia. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 8: e2798.[Crossref]
  40. Reperan L, Osterhaus A, Atlas R, Maloy S, , 2014. The human-animal interface. , eds. One Health: People, Animals and the Environment. Washington, DC: ASM Press.
  41. WHO Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases, Progress Report, 2013. Securing Regional Health. Available at: http://www.wpro.who.int/publications/PUB_ISBN/en/. Accessed December 2013.
  42. Cao-Lormeau V, Roche C, Musso D, Mallet H, Dalipanda T, Dofai A, Nogareda F, Nilles EJ, Aaskov J, , 2014. Dengue virus type 3, south Pacific Islands, 2013. Emerg Infect Dis 20: 10341036.[Crossref]
  43. Nogareda F, Joshua C, Sio A, Shortus M, Dalipanda T, Durski K, Musto J, Puiahi E, Dofai A, Aaskov J, Cao-Lormeau VM, Musso D, Dutta N, Fleisch J, Nilles E, , 2013. Ongoing outbreak of dengue serotype-3 in Solomon Islands, January to May 2013. Western Pac Surveill Response J 4: 15.
  44. Arima Y, Chiew M, Matsui T, , 2015. Epidemiological update on the dengue situation in the western Pacific region 2012. Western Pac Surveill Response J 6: 8289.[Crossref]
  45. Kouadio I, Ajunid S, Kamigaki T, Hammad K, Oshitani H, , 2012. Infectious diseases following natural disasters: prevention and control measures. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther 10: 95104.[Crossref]
  46. Maes P, Harries AD, Van den Bergh R, Noor A, Snow RW, Tayler-Smith K, Hinderaker SG, Zachariah R, Allan R, , 2014. Can timely vector control interventions triggered by atypical environmental conditions prevent malaria epidemics? A case-study from Wajir County, Kenya. PLoS One 9: e92386.[Crossref]
  47. Fernandez A, Black J, Jones M, Wilson L, Salvador-Carulla L, Astell-Burt T, Black D, , 2015. Flooding and mental health: a systematic mapping review. PLoS One 10: e0119929.[Crossref]
  48. Telles S, Singh N, Joshi M, , 2009. Risk of posttraumatic stress disorder and depression in survivors of the floods in Bihar, India. Indian J Med Sci 63: 330334.[Crossref]
  49. Burki T, , 2015. Floods in Myanmar damage hundreds of health facilities. Lancet 386: 843.[Crossref]
  50. Minh H, Anh T, Rocklov J, Bao Giang K, Trang le Q, Sahlen KG, Nilsson M, Weinehall L, , 2014. Primary healthcare system capacities for responding to storm and flood-related health problems: a case study from a rural district in central Vietnam. Glob Health Action 7: 23007.[Crossref]
  51. IPCC AR5 Barros VR, Field CB, Dokken DJ, Mastrandrea MD, Mach KJ, Bilir TE, Chatterjee M, Ebi KL, Estrada YO, Genova RC, Girma B, Kissel ES, Levy AN, MacCracken S, Mastrandrea PR, White LL, , 2014. Climate Change 2043: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability Part B: Regional Aspects. Contribution of Working Group IIB to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. , eds. Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 688.
  52. ADB, 2015. Asian Development Bank and Solomon Islands: Factsheet. Available at: http://www.adb.org/publications/solomon-islands-fact-sheet. Accessed September 2015.
  53. ADB, 2015. Corporate Evaluation Study. ADB Support to Small Pacific Island Countries. Available at: http://www.adb.org/documents/adb-support-pacific-small-island-countries. Accessed September 2015.

Data & Media loading...

  • Received : 06 Mar 2016
  • Accepted : 31 Mar 2016

Most Cited This Month

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error