By Christine Rovoi of RNZ
More than 150 households, including businesses in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara, will receive emergency supplies - three weeks after riots rocked the Pacific island nation.
Three people died and close to 100 businesses were destroyed during three days of political unrest in the city.
The damage has been estimated at more than SI$500 million (NZ$91m) and climbing, with more than 1000 workers out of a job, the Solomons Central Bank announced last week.
The Red Cross Society has completed assessments in areas worst-hit by the unrest, with more than 250 households registered.
The society's Secretary-General in the Solomons, Clement Manuri, told RNZ Pacific they will be distributing emergency supplies to the first 20 families today.
While he admits the assistance has come three weeks late, Manuri said they are only giving out non-food and hygiene items.
"The team will start distributing non-food items to the local employees so it's mainly hygiene kits for now.
"And there are families who will receive emergency shelter tool kits as well."
The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) is handling requests from families for food supplies, Manuri said.
'Tension is still high in Honiara'
Life is beginning to slowly return to normal in the capital, but there's still an air of uncertainty about, Manuri said.
He said reports of a group threatening an armed attack on the capital "has put everyone on edge".
"Shops are opening, and every other office. But again with police now arresting people for questioning, tension is still high.
"It's still not really back to normal with the questioning of people they think might have contributed to what had happened in last month's riots."
Police say they are investigating the threats of an armed attack.
Commissioner Mostyn Mangau said the threat is being treated as a matter of national security.
"Police will not tolerate any armed groups or criminals who are taking the opportunity to plan their crimes to threaten the sovereignty of this nation."
Meanwhile, the presence of hundreds of regional security personnel from Australia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and New Zealand is still being felt on Honiara's streets.
The group is there to provide peacekeeping support to the local authorities, Mangau said.
Chinese community 'hesitant'
Among those affected in last month's riots were the Chinese community, whose businesses in Chinatown were torched and looted.
Manuri said many of these Chinese shopowners are hesitant to come forward and speak with the Red Cross volunteers.
He was asked if it was the fear of further repercussions.
"I'm not sure but their businesses were targeted during the unrest," Manuri said. "It could be also that they don't need anything from us but are awaiting the government's support package for businesses."
The Chinese community was targeted partly due to the Solomons government's switch of diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China in 2019, a move that has angered some communities in the aid-dependent nation.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare last week survived a vote of no-confidence in Parliament.
Manuri said they will continue to reach out to the Chinese community in Honiara.
"That is still a challenge. Not everyone is coming forward. Not like the locals, some of them turned up even today at our office. But it's not what the Chinese business owners are doing.
"We will still do our best to get all the business owners that we are yet to assess or register."
The Solomon Islands Chinese Association (SICA) said in a statement that it has more than 70 years of history in the islands.
"Many Chinese individuals and families have lost literally everything and are also homeless," it said, condemning the "senseless" violence.
High levels of toxic gases found in burnt areas
Meanwhile, initial assessments conducted on the burnt buildings from the unrest have found moderate to high health risks.
In a statement, the Solomons Health Ministry said the toxic gases are a result of burnt products such as paints, chemicals and pesticides, physical structures and vapour including refrigerators (freezers, fridges, air-conditions etc).
"The impacts of smoke from burning trash and plastic burning trash cans can cause long-term health problems.
"These smokes contain vapours and particulate matter, solid and liquid droplets that are suspended in the air and harmful to humans when inhaled or in contact with the eyes, skin and ears," the statement said.
The National Disaster Council has established that parts of Chinatown a "No Go Zone".
This includes areas in and around groups of burnt buildings on the nearby Ranadi suburb.
The public is also advised to keep away from burnt buildings along Kukum and Lungga areas.
"All shops in close proximity or near to burnt down buildings are advised to close for now until further advice is issued," the health ministry said.
Led by the National Disaster Council (NDC) through the National Disaster Operation Centre (N-DOC), the assessments were conducted by the police, Fire and Rescue Services, the Honiara City Council, Health Ministry, the Environmental Health Division, Ministry of Infrastructure and Development (MID).