Surviving floods and quakes in Solomon Islands

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 13:41 13/04/2014
Tamara Priddle and Dom Quaghebeur
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ANOTHER QUAKE: Christchurch woman Tamara Priddle and and her partner Dom Quaghebeur.

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Tamara Priddle is used to natural disasters but living in the Solomon Islands has ''so far been a bit of a nightmare''.

The Christchurch woman and her Belgian partner Dom Quaghebeur have been living in the suburb of Langakiki in the capital city of Honiara since February. 

Priddle, 25, was in Christchurch for the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes and said when the magnitude 7.6 hit off the coast of the Solomons this morning, it ''didn't really worry me''.

''I knew it was big but...it was nothing compared to what it was like in Christchurch.

''I don't think anything can be that bad.'' 

The couple live on a hill, so ''I knew we were safe'', she said. 

''The scariest thing is not being able to get in touch with family and friends straight away because we lose phone connection all the time and you don't want people to worry.''

She said she checked her phone once the telecommunications were back up to see text messages from concerned family telling her about the tsunami alert.

''That's when I started to freak out a bit.''

The region was still recovering from the flash flooding that hit about 10 days ago, she said, and the biggest concern was now the spread of disease.

Quaghebeur contracted dengue fever and malaria and the couple were on the way to the hospital when the flash flooding hit.

''We came out of the hospital and the roads were flooding and there was debris everywhere. It was really scary.''

Priddle is completing her last year of a teaching degree by correspondence and will fly home to Christchurch to complete her placements. 

Quaghebeur has a two-year contract as a mechanic.

''I'm hoping the rest of our time is a smooth ride,'' she said. 

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- The Press

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