SOLOMON ISLANDS

 The Miracle of Tikopia

           

 

Cyclone Zoe smashed into the island of Tikopia early on Sunday morning, 29th December, 2002. Great fears were held for the safety of the islanders who remained out of contact for almost a week. This Web site examines the miracles of Tikopia where no casualties were reported as a result of Cyclone Zoe. 

 

An aerial view of Tikopia in which its volcanic origins are evident.
Most villages are located on the flat area to the foreground while
a lagoon exists between the two volcanic peaks in the background.

The children of Tikopia welcome the first group
to arrive by helicopter after Cyclone Zoe hit the island.

 

The flattened landscape of Tikopia.

Villagers on the beach, the morning after Cyclone Zoe hit Tikopia.

Tikopians welcome the first arrivals since Cyclone Zoe.

Despite great fears being held for the safety of the people of Tikopia, they have miraculously survived Cyclone Zoe by fleeing to high country hideaways that have protected their people for generations. The islanders had survived by fleeing to the high country along paths Tikopians had used for centuries during cyclone emergencies to shelter in mountain caves from 370 kilometer per hour winds and gigantic waves which swept across the low-lying areas of the island.

The first arrivals at Tikopia expected to see hundreds of dead and festering bodies, but rather were just overwhelmed with people running towards the helicopter. Every single person was alive although they did have some problems with their fruit being ruined by the storm and their water supply contaminated by salt water. The islanders said that they had lost their homes and crops and would not be able to grow all their food for at least the next three years.

Tikopians were adept at preparing for cyclones. They have developed a unique style of low-built sago palm-thatch huts with tiny doorways to prevent the wind snatching the structure away. Early photographs indicated that many of these huts remain standing after Cyclone Zoe, although the people had sought safety in the high ground.

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About Tikopia
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Jane Resture
(E-mail: jane@janeresture.com -- Rev. 28th January 2009)