An earthquake caused significant damage to the Bekabeka Adventist Community High School in the Solomon Islands’ Western Province, just east of Ngatokae Island, on October 15, 2021.
Officials reported that the epicenter was located between 25 and 30 kilometers (16 to 19 miles) from the closest point of land, which happened to be the location of the church boarding school.
ADRA Solomon Islands director Stephen Tasker sent Raynick Jack, ADRA Solomon Islands emergency management coordinator, on the MV Mariner to discover the extent of the damage at the school and surrounding communities and put together a report.
With 23 out of 28 homes on the campus damaged in some way — among them, two buildings completely fallen, including the principal’s house and the canteen, and seven seriously damaged — five staff families have had to live in the dining hall, one group in a classroom, and the principal in the transit apartment.
The dormitories had some damage but were still habitable. Six toilets and six showers were also broken, however, which has created sanitation issues.
One student was inside the canteen when it fell down, knocking her unconscious. She was pulled out of the building by other students and revived shortly after.
ADRA Solomon Islands loaned the school five tarpaulins and assorted ropes to assist with shelter.
A team from nearby Batuna Vocational College (building, plumbing, and electrical staff with some students) went to assess the damage and help with some repairs.
“The administration would like to thank you all for prayers and especially ADRA [Solomon Islands] for being the first to positively respond by sending an officer to assess the situation,” Bekabeka principal Encie Dionie said. “We also thank God that no lives were lost and that both students and staff families are well. The classrooms are also intact, and for that, we are truly thankful.”
At least two houses will need rebuilding, and others will eventually undergo major repairs.
Bekabeka is a boarding high school with 249 students, 18 teaching staff, and nine support staff.