6 May 2005

Elderly Solomon Islanders starving on Reef Islands - report

3:33 pm on 6 May 2005

Reports from eastern Solomon Islands say food shortages in the Reef Islands have led to older people dying of starvation.

No figures have been given but reports reaching nearby Lata say 6,000 people have very little to eat.

Our correspondent in Lata, George West, says many people are desperate.

"Stealing is on the rise. Most people survive by stealing. They go to other people's food gardens and whatever they see, they take that. Some families survive on some form of taro type of thing. And, some families say when they harvest in the morning or during the day time, they know where they stopped harvesting. And, when they come the next morning they see the area of harvesting has moved some meters, and people harvest premature bananas at the moment and other crops."

George West reporting from Lata in Temotu province

The Red Cross in Honiara says there has been a report from the disaster council about the situation on the Reef Islands but it says the report was inadequate.