A village leader from Kuluguma Village, Edward Sagem, said people, including children, are experiencing some sort of illness that has symptoms like dizziness, cold shivers and unexplainable body aches.
At Bieng Health Centre, health workers’ test for malaria parasites have come up negative. Furthermore, tests for blood levels have come back normal but people are still feeling dizzy, having cold shivers and body aches.
Sagem said the people suspect that perhaps lack of food and nutrition is causing these ailments.
He said Bieng Health Centre has a regular supply of medicine, which is treating the people well when they are sick.
However, with no food in the gardens and fruit tree yields decreasing, hunger will definitely continue.
He said this has been the situation since July 2019.
Sagem said root crops such as taro, Singapore taro and sweet potatoes are no longer growing nor bearing tubers. Banana trees are only bearing slim fruits with no substance.
The only food crop now available, though at a diminishing amount, is tapioca. However, the people have to dig at least 1 metre deep past the pumice to find whatever they can.
(File picture of Manam locals)