An estimated 160,000 still affected by PNG drought
International agencies in Papua New Guinea are planning to provide more food support to tens of thousands of drought victims.
While parts of Papua New Guinea battle the flooding that is typical at this time of the year, many thousands remain in need as a result of the prolonged drought brought by El Nino.
The drought, which lasted until March after beginning in some areas in the first half of last year, affected much of Papua New Guinea.
The United Nations System in PNG has been centrally involved in the recovery process and its country director Roy Trivedy told Don Wiseman that many people remain in a precarious situation.
ROY TRIVEDY: In many parts of the country people although they planted initially after the rains came in many cases the first crop we had this flush of extra nitrogen and so on which meant that actually they didn't get any yield at all. And so for many of those people there continues to be a situation of food insecurity and together with government the national disaster center we the UN system has been supporting a number of surveys to be done and on the basis of that we have agreed that there are probably around about a hundred and sixty thousand people in different parts of the country but particularly in the higher altitude areas who recquire some amount of additional food support and support with nutrition.
DON WISEMAN: What are you doing?
RT: We launched what is called within the international system a serf appeal to try and get additional support from outside the country for that and we have received some funding from the UN system for that. With the assistance of the World Food Programme and UNICEF that food and nutrition support will start delivery by the middle of May and it will be for a limited period, a couple of months. And we will try and help people tide them over until they get at least are able to plant and get some more crops themselves. Our major worry is that if we don't provide that kind of support then people are going to go into even the remainder of this year having been food insecure. Not having had enough food then having to replant later in the year and struggling throughout that whole process. So that work on food delivery and additional nutritional support as well as continued work through the Food and Agricultural Organisation with the department for Agriculture and livestock on providing seeds and tools is also going on working in close partnership of course with government and other partners.
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