13 Feb 2006

Solomon Islands disaster officials defend actions over reports of food shortages in Malaita

8:43 pm on 13 February 2006

The director of the Solomon Islands National Disaster management Office says they are responding to reports of food shortages in Malaita province as a matter of urgency.

Loti Yates says they are preparing to send out an assessment team in response to reports that people in Luaniua and Sikaiana atolls are facing severe food shortages.

Malaita's Premier Robin Moli says recent reports they have sent to the government regarding food shortages in other parts of Malaita have met with no response.

But Mr Yates says it's hard for the National office to act on disasters until the provinces make the first steps.

"We require funds to move around and whilst the finger is pointed to the central government, initial damage assesment and informations coming in from the areas of disaster must come from the provinces themselves. They have to make people available to go out and get initial informations for us."

Loti Yates says that sending food relief with the initial assessment team is an option because making multiple trips to remote areas is expensive.