PNG PM visits drought-stricken areas; promises aid

1:13 pm on 27 August 2015

Papua New Guinea's prime minister has visited areas affected by drought and frosts as the government deploys almost US$9 million in relief funds to affected parts.

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill meets drought-stricken farmers in the Southern Highlands

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill meets drought-stricken farmers in the Southern Highlands Photo: Supplied / PNG Prime Minister's office

This comes as drought conditions worsen and government agencies continue assessments of affected areas, including most of the Highlands region where two provinces have declared a state of emergency.

Peter O'Neill's visit took in affected parts of Western Highlands and Southern Highlands provinces where food and water supplies have already been received.

Also in Southern Highlands, he visited his home district of Ialibu-Pangia where supplies are currently being trucked to communities.

Mr O'Neill urged the community to consider families who have lost the most to and are in dire need of basics when relief supplies arrive.

The government last week made available around $2 million in relief funding to severely affected areas and late yesterday confirmed another 8.7 million was being made available.

The prime minister says the government is making preparations for a potential worsening of drought conditions due to an extended El Niño and the effects of climate change.

He says the National Agricultural Research Institute has embarked on visits to affected areas to provide free crop seedlings so that people can return to gardening and start replanting crops to sustain themselves.

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