Chimbu emerging from drought

The southern area of the Simbu province in Papua New Guinea is coming out of the worst of the effects of the drought which gripped the area for months.

The El Nino-linked drought, which began in the middle of last year, affected many parts of PNG.

Matthew Kanua, from the Church Partnership Programme, recently went into South Simbu and says food supply is still low but estimates about 30 percent of sweet potato is available now along with other vegetables that are coming into season.

He says unlike lower valley and middle altitude areas, where sweet potato was just about wiped out, it was largely spared because of the very high altitudes.

"What happened up here it did not frost in this region whereas in other parts of the island it did frost and really killing frosts. It did not really get killed during the drought in this region so there was some crops planted about March/April last year that kept on growing even though they were under stress."

Matthew Kanua says he was told that as many as 60 people died in South Simbu as a result of the drought.a