8 Jul 2015

Evacuated Carteret islanders hope to send back food

2:50 pm on 8 July 2015

There are hopes people moved from Bougainville's endangered Carteret Islands will be able to produce food to send back to those that remain.

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Photo: RNZ

For some years a non government organisation, Tulele Peisa, has been working with the Catholic Church in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region, to relocate people to the mainland.

The atolls to the north of Papua New Guinea's Bougainville have long been affected by storm surges, king tides and the resulting coastal erosion, and growing food there is no longer possible.

Tulele Peisa's Ursula Rakova says they intend moving about 1700 people eventually, mostly younger adults and children, while many of the older people want to stay on the Carterets because of their connections to the land.

"It is not a case of us moving the younger people because they are not connected to the land. We are moving them because they will be able to produce food and send back to help the elderly people who are back on the island."

Ursula Rakova says the islanders who stay back cannot grow food because of the environmental destruction that has occurred.

"Right now people are living on fish and just two weeks ago, my community, the community in Tinputz actually sent 15 bags of food to the island. This was in response to a request by the Emergency and Disaster in Bougainville."