23 Mar 2010

Food shortage fears in Solomons after Cyclone Ului

2:02 pm on 23 March 2010

Food shortages are likely in Rennell and Bellona in Solomon Islands after the province was pummelled for nearly a week by Cyclone Ului.

The winds are reported to have stripped fruit from the trees and root crops such as taro, cassava and potato are beginning to rot in the saturated ground.

Patrol boats are being sent to Rennell and Bellona and to Makira province this afternoon.

A spokesman for the Disaster Management Office, Julian Makaa, says the teams will be made up of technical staff, NGOs and others from his office.

He says food shortages are one of the most pressing concerns:

"The assessment teams are taking some relief supplies with them, that's usually what happens after every bad weather not only on the two islands, but also on the central Guadalcanal plains where the same problems always happen after big rains so we have already purchased some rice and some other basic stuff to go with the patrol boats and the assessment teams."

Mr Makaa says it will be at least a week before the teams complete their work as most of the villages in Makira and Rennell and Bellona are only accessible by foot