4 Dec 2002

Rice to be sent to Solomon Islands Guadalcanal's weathercoast

6:02 pm on 4 December 2002

A boat is leaving the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, this afternoon to deliver more than 50 tonnes of rice to people on Guadalcanal's weathercoast.

The chairman of the National Disaster Council, Casper Fa'asala, says about 3,500 villagers need the rice because flooding has swamped food gardens.

Mr Fa'asala says the food is also intended for the people who have been displaced by the current police operation which is hunting down rebel leader, Harold Keke.

"We are providing food... only for the people who are now moving back behind the police operations. Those are the people who are currently displaced, living with wontoks, no guardians and hence on humanitatrian assistance... we are considering those people."

Mr Fa'asala says it's likely that a second shipment may need to be sent.

He says he has had fruitful discussions with the New Zealand high commission, the resident adviser for the European Union and an AUSAID representative to request funds for the second phase of the operation.