Prolonged drought leaves many without food and water in PNG

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The prolonged dry weather is affecting food and water sources for thousands of people throughout the country and there is a fear that many would die from starvation and water.

Reports coming in from around the country indicated that four months of severe sun and heat has cause food and water sources to dry up and there is a fear of people dying from lack of water and food if no help is forthcoming.

The Markham Valley, Menyamya, the East New Britain, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, New Ireland, Manus, parts of Madang, the Eastern Highlands, Simbu, the whole of the upper Highlands are all experiencing severe dry weather.

In the Southern Highlands, people from Poroma and Nembi Plateau in the NipaKuubtu, and other parts of the province are also feeling the pinch of the dry spell.

However, Prime Minister James Marape said his government will look at how best they can help those affected by the prolonged drought in certain parts of the country, especially in the New Guinea Islands, Mamose and Highlands regions.

He said there may be similar dry weather experienced in other parts of the country but they need to establish the facts before they look at how to deal with it.

He said the National Government will need information before it can look at how it can assist those affected, particularly the people experiencing food shortage and water sources drying up.

The Prime Minister urged the respective district development authorities to look at providing immediate relief assistance while waiting for the National Government to come up with the relief efforts and look at how best they can address the issues.

Marape said that when responding to questions without notice from the Member for Daulo, Ekime Gorosahu, who wanted to know if the government through the office of the Emergency and National Disaster has any plans to support the people affected by drought in his province and the nearby provinces like the Morobe Province.

Gorosahu said a prolonged dry season for almost four months has dried up food gardens and water sources and it was affecting the lives of the people.

He said many people will go without food and water and possibly starve to death if the dry weather continues for some more days.

In the Morobe Province reports indicated that people of the vast Markham valleyare running short of food and water and classes are affected due to the sun and strong heat. Similarly, the people of Menyamya are also experiencing shortage of food and water.

Reports have also surfaced that food crops and water is gradually drying up in some parts of the New Guinea islands, as in East New Britain, New Irelands, Manus, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and the West New Britain.

According to the news reports, many of the small islands are already missing out on food and water as water wells they depend on have dried up.

Marape said they will come up with a programme that will assist everyone affected.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS