Stay Safe in Solomon Islands
The Solomon Islands are situated in the Pacific “Rim of Fire” and are prone to earthquakes, some of which are very big! An 8.1 magnitude earthquake near Ghizo Island (in the New Georgia Islands) in 2007 caused a tsunami up to 12 meters high, killing 52 people. An 8.0 magnitude earthquake in the Santa Cruz Islands in 2013 caused a 1 m tsunami (fortunately, the epicenter was deep enough beneath that a huge wave was not produced), killing less than ten people. In addition to these two, earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 7.0 are quite common (every year or two). If you feel an earthquake, get to higher ground right away!
While not as terrible as in neighboring Papua New Guinea, crime rates are significant in the Solomon Islands. Traveling after midnight is hazardous, particularly in Honiara, and muggers have been known to target visitors at Mt Austin’s Japanese War Memorial even in broad daylight.
Ethnic tensions between Guales (Guadalcanal inhabitants) and Malaitans, as well as between everyone and the Chinese, remain high. Australian soldiers have been stationed in Honiara since 2003 to keep things under control, but this could not prevent violent riots from damaging major sections of the city in 2006.
Stay Healthy in Solomon Islands
Malaria is the most serious public health problem in the Solomon Islands. Visitors should take anti-malarial medication before, during, and after their visit.
In contrast to other South Pacific islands, saltwater crocodiles are very abundant in the Solomon Islands, and extreme caution should be used while in or near ANY body of water. Knowledge is your greatest defense, as well as the safety of the crocs themselves. While the population in the Solomons is nowhere like that of Northern Australia or New Guinea, it is nevertheless regarded reasonably robust in contrast to most of the species’ Southeast Asian range. This is particularly true of the Solomon Islands’ most populous islands, which are closest to New Guinea.