Solomons police overrun, Australia deploying support personnel

Police in Solomon Islands were overrun as rioters and looters tore through the capital Honiara.

RNZ Pacific correspondent in Honiara, Elizabeth Osifelo, said exhausted police were overwhelmed as more people swarmed into town in defiance of a 36-hour lockdown.

Shops in Chinatown which had survived the earlier unrest were ransacked and burned. On the eastern side of town the Ranadi branch of Bank South Pacific was torched as was locally owned and operated hardware store, Island Enterprise.

Osifelo said police were doing everything they could to try and get control of the situation but they were outnumbered.

"It was all looting and just chaos. So there were a whole lot of people in the Chinatown area but there were still other locations around the eastern part of Honiara that has been really badly affected. A lot of businesses and a lot of buildings have been burned," she said.

Osifelo said the unrest has had a massive impact on law-abiding citizens and families in and around the capital who are now running low on food and basic necessities, as well as utilities like power and water which are pre-paid services in Honiara.

"Families in and around Honiara were not prepared for the basic things such as cash power, cash water and just the basic food supplies at home so the situation is and will affect a lot of families in Honiara," she said.