PNG drought workers urge govt to authorise intervention

1:35 pm on 28 January 2016

Workers on the frontline of Papua New Guinea's drought crisis are pleading with the national government to allow international donor partners and humanitarian organisations to take part in efforts to provide relief to drought-affected communities.

Husband and father is carried to his grave after dying in the bush when he went to make sago.
He was hungry and weak and trying to feed his family.

Husband and father is carried to his grave after dying in the bush when he went to make sago. He was hungry and weak and trying to feed his family. Photo: RNZI / courtesy of Sally Lloyd

Recent assessments estimate that about 800,000 people remain severely affected by drought, with food and water either absent or in extremely short supply.

Dry creek bed

Dry creek bed Photo: Supplied

Drought relief director for uni-faith organistation Church Partnership Program Mathew Kanua said a lot of food and relief had been moved to major provincial centres, but poor logistic planning had resulted in supplies getting stuck in warehouses with no funding to transport them to remote communities in most need of them.

Mr Kanua said international partners could help fill the logistical gap but governemnt needed to clearly outline where the weak links in the relief chain were and then authorise direct intervention from outside parties.

"They do this thing all over the world, they can come and help and plan the logistics and transport together with the goverment and budget these things and invite the participation of the private sector and we can move this along very quickly. But the government has not clearly stated what role these people play and if any."

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