Bougainville's disaster resources stretched to the limit
: Bougainville's disaster coordinator says the autonomous Papua New Guinea region has been stretched to the limit as it deals with several natural disasters.
Bougainville's disaster coordinator says the autonomous Papua New Guinea region has been stretched to the limit as it deals with several natural disasters.
Franklin Lacey says most of the of the 158,000 US dollars allocated by the national government has been exhausted, and more is need as a severe El Niño is predicted to last until the end of the year.
Mr Lacey says his office is currently dealing with landslides and flooding in the Panguna and Torokina districts, and about 5,000 people in the atolls region need of food and water after large swells washed across the islands, destroying food gardens and water supplies.
He talked to Jamie Tahana.
FRANKLIN LACEY: We are trying to get food stuffs because of the sea level rise which has damaged the food gardens, the little plots we have on the island. The sea level rise has done very big damage to the little plots of land that can be food. So we are relying again on the government services.
JAMIE TAHANA: How many people are roughly affected?
FL: Roughly, the number on the island is 5000, that's my estimation. That includes Mason Island, Fead Island, Patrick, Mortlock and the Tasman.
JT: Roughly when are those supplies expected to arrive?
FL: It's what I'm doing now, that's my exercise at the moment. The last two weeks I've been supplying the Fead Island and the Nissan Islands. Then we have another trip to the Fead Islands to supply much needed rice supply to the people there and when the ship comes back we will go Patrick Island, drop off supplies there, the ship comes back and then we go to Mortlock and Tasman. We are supplying only water canteens and food stuffs.
JT: Does Bougainville emergency services have enough supplies to help these islands or will you be looking for national assistance?
FL: The little funding that we have from the national government has diminished in the last few months. We had that catastrophe in the Panguna central and also there were very big landslips which blocked the roads, so we also supply tarpaulins with the help of the Red Cross and other development partners here on Bougainville. Torokina district has also been devastated by the recent weather, heavy flooding which has destroyed the homes, so that 500,000, most of it has gone to the apples. We don't have that funding now. I was in Port Moresby a while back to look for additional funding from the National Disaster Centre they had promised to give me some funding. I haven't received that funding as of yet, so I'm waiting for them to respond so we can continue with really running the whole of the region.
JT: Okay so your resources are stretched, you don't have much more money and with this El Niño predicted to be very bad, it's not looking good.
FL: It's not looking good, the kind of atmosphere that this El Niño thing is coursing through the region.
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