Cyclone Lusi victims in Vanuatu forced to eat unripe crops
Cyclone victims in Vanuatu have been forced to eat unripe crops while they wait for government assistance.
Some communities in Vanuatu have resorted to eating unripe crops while they wait for government assistance, one month on from Cyclone Lusi.
Affected populations were advised to use up left over crops damaged by the cyclone but in some areas, those crops have now run out.
New crops have been planted but they are meant to be harvested in three to six months.
The National Disaster Management Office submitted an assessment for food relief on Monday, which is still awaiting a government decision.
Kensley Micah from the Provincial Disaster Committee in Sanma Province spoke to Indira Moala.
KENSLEY MICAH: People from the most affected areas, they urgently need food. Especially those who've made their gardens along the river bed. All their gardens are being washed away by the rivers and by flooding. I received a message yesterday from one of the area secretary's in North Santo, he was saying to me that the people in North Santo, in [inaudible] they urgently need food.
INDIRA MOALA: Ok, so the National Disaster Management Office advised the people after the cyclone hit to consume the crops that had been damaged by the cyclone, and so now those crops are running out?
KM: Yes, the food are running out. Like, after the cyclone, they replant but they will still have to wait for some time before it's ready to be harvested.
IM: How long until the next harvest season?
KM: Six months, some crops - three months, some crops six months and some about a year.
IM: So in between that time people are running out of food and they are urgently needing food assistance from the government?
KM: Yeah like now, people urgently need food. Not in all of Santo but in specific areas like North West and South santo area and Big Bay inland.
IM: What's the general feeling among the people there at the moment? How are they feeling about moving forward?
KM: Most of the communities are rebuilding but things like construction and things, the communities - they help each other to construct new buildings. In Big Bay people are moving together to provide local materials to other centres that need [assistance].
IM: At this stage with the crops that are left for the locals to consume, how long will that last?
KM: At the moment, I heard people from the communities - they told me that they live on food like bananas which are not yet ready and they have to eat it.
IM: So you mean they're eating foods that aren't ripe for picking yet?
KM: Yeah, especially those who have their gardens near river beds. Like now, their gardens are all being washed away. Right now they have to eat whatever that is there, even if it is not yet ready. But they have to eat it because there's nothing for them to eat.
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