The people of Korona, Tutuna and Idau, three villages which are located behind the Doa Plantation in the Kairuku Hiri LLG of Central Province, are also questioning their authorities as to why they have not received any form of relief supplies.
Kevin Dagere, a resident of Korona village during an awareness program conducted by Partners With Melanesians (PWM), expressed his disappointment at leaders of the area not showing any concern for their people who sometimes go without good food for weeks and eat whatever they find that is edible.
“We need NARI to conduct awareness on food types that are adaptable to this El Nino period and the kind of food we must avoid,” said Dagere.
”Wild fires spread very easily, destroying our gardens; our food crops when harvested, look like they were cooked in an underground oven,” he said.
A leader from Tutuna village, Mona Bemu, expressed similar sentiments to that of Dagere and said the people of Tutuna village are starving as food and water is becoming unsafe for direct consumption.
“Our gardens are destroyed from the extreme heat from the sun and fire. We need our Local Level Government leaders to intervene,” says Bemu.
Partners With Melanesians on Saturday 17 October, conducted awareness at the three villages and invited an officer from the National Weather Service and two senior staffers from the Fire Service to bring to light El Nino issues currently affecting the locals in the area.
Mr Lipan Toyung, an officer from the Weather Office, assured the people that latest predictions deduce that some areas will have experienced rain from September to November, so they should be expecting rain any time soon.
“El Nino period usually occurs every five years and lasts for about nine to twelve months. However, this El Nino period has been the longest of recorded history and the effects are great. But we should be expecting rain around December to January.
“We should be prepared for La Nina, which follows after the El Nino when extreme rainy periods will be experienced which will result in flooding, landslides, erosion, and destruction of properties. La Nina is the opposite of El Nino,” Toyung said.
Senior officers from PNG National Fire Service Leo Ovia and Hare Mareakore explained to the locals about the importance of managing fire in this time of prolonged dry season.
“Fire breaks are important for preventing fire from destroying homes or gardens. Clear the area of trees or bushes or dry grass eight to ten metres away from houses and gardens so that when a fire spreads, it will not reach the garden or house.
“You must have two doors in the house so that during the time of fire, one door can be used for escape,” Ovia said
“Never leave a fire unattended. When you are cooking you must stay close to the fire until all the cooking is done and then cover it up with soil. Do not burn fires unnecessarily and when you light fires in your garden, stay close to it and put it out when your work is done,” Mr Mareakore said.
Partners With Melanesians (PWM) gave 70 water bottles to the three villages and some water treatment chemicals called “Pour n’ Go” so that the villagers can avoid water borne diseases from causing illnesses.