Heavy rain does little to ease PNG drought

8:16 pm on 17 November 2015

The governor of Papua New Guinea's Chimbu province says recent rains have done nothing to ease the severe drought.

Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea.

Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Much of the Highlands region is in the grip of a severe drought brought on by the current El Niño system, with an estimated three million people suffering from food and water shortages.

Noah Kool says about 100,000 people are affected in his province, with most crops dead and streams fast drying up.

He says the province experienced heavy rain last week for the first time in months, but that has done little to help.

"Some parts of the provinces, they have experienced a lot of rain. But most parts of the provinces, they are still suffering now and more and more people are coming to my office seeking help, and I can't help."

Noah Kool says the money allocated to the province by the national government for relief supplies is not enough, and it is fast running out.

He says the situation in the Highlands is very serious and unlikely to end any time soon, with the El Niño forecast to last well into next year.

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