PNG PM warns drought could worsen

9:24 am on 25 August 2015

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, is warning that the country's current drought and frost conditions will likely worsen.

Mr O'Neill announced yesterday that about 1 point 8 million people have been affected by the extreme weather, and 1 point 3 million are classed as 'most at risk'.

He says the situation is likely to get worse and agencies and communities must work together in the coming months to reduce the impact of the extreme weather conditions.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

The Post Courier reports the Prime Minister says the immediate priority of the government is the health and safety of people, and the government is delivering food and water to affected areas, as well as health care support.

He says where appropriate, schools are being directed to reduce their operating hours or to temporarily close.

Mr O'Neill says the government has been preparing for months for the possibility of an extended drought with related frost, which is being made worse by climate change.

High altitude areas in the five Highlands provinces and certain parts of Garaina and Waria in Morobe Province, and Goilala in Central Province have experienced frost destroying food gardens.

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