Food supplies run low in Kiunga

Food supplies in Kiunga in the Western Province are running low as the drought continues to hit hard.

The prolonged dry whether has resulted in the district office instructing business houses to close their whole sale operations and sell the remaining food in loose quantities to cater for the population.

In an exclusive interview with an officer from the provincial house of assembly relating to whether or not the Provincial Disaster office has any disaster plans or what they are doing to address the issue, he said that the public servants in the provincial government and various government departments and the public in general are asking the same question, which is falling on “deaf ears’’.

The effect of the drought has caused the mighty Fly River’s level to drop very low where people can cross over by foot.

Ships with tonnes of supplies have become stuck at points along the river for almost four months and business houses are fearing that they are likely to make losses and if the weather persists, their goods might get rotten in the containers.

A teacher in Kiunga who did not want to be named said Western province is not like other provinces in PNG where most of the basic needs are accessed easily by road and sea.

He said even if the relief supplies are provided, the distribution part will be chaotic as there is limited road access to the hinterland since most waterways have dried up.

“By the look of it, the distribution will cost thousands of kina and it is believed that most in the remote areas will still miss out,” he said.

In other centres where garden food is a proble, they have an alternative of the store goods. In Kiunga, where the weather is very dry and hot, most of the food crops are dying and sago cannot be made as the waters have dried up.

The people there do not have access to essential store goods like rice and flour as these goods are out of stock.

In addition, the main hospital and health centres are running short of drugs. One of the doctors from the hospital  said that they had just compiled a contingency plan and had sent it to Port Moresby yesterday (15/10/15) for the supply of medical drugs.

On the same note the District Education office has asked all schools to suspend their classes until 2016 and are only keeping the grades 8, 10 and 12 until they complete their national examinations. Most high schools and secondary schools have suspended classes for their schools since term 3 due to non - payment, delayed payment or shortfalls in the TFF funds. 

Photo: Shop owner telling the public that there is no stock of the two essential goods, rice and flour

Russel Saigomi