Hunger strikes Manam care centres

Manam Islanders living in Care Centres, north of Madang town are appealing for government and community organizations to assist with food and water as they struggle for survival during the prolonged dry season.

Women of Kuluguma village at Asuramba Care Centre gathered today to express their desperation.

As acute hunger has come upon the community of Manam Island settlers in Care Centres along the coast of Bogia district, and this time women are calling for help. 

Betty Bade, wife of the late chief also from Ward 13, Iabu LLG added further on the dilemma. 

“Mipela bin sot tru long kaikai, san I bagarapim mipela, ol kaikai i sting igo insait long gaden, ol banana I wok long pudaun, mipela sot lo wara, olgeta kaikai i bagarap (We don’t have enough food, our food gardens are going bad. We also don’t have water),” Mrs. Bade said.

The prolonged dry spell, which began in March has taken its toll, drying up gardens to mere dust, and causing severe hunger among the settlers.

“On behalf of mothers and children of Iabu LLG I’m speaking out but today I stand on behalf of the village of Kuluguma, Ward 13, Iabu LLG. I see that the support of the government has been lacking. We have been in the Care Centres for the last 10 to 20 years. We have been neglected,” Mrs Kapata said.

Schools send students home at lunch to fend for themselves while water sources have also dried up forcing people to search farther into areas outside of their safety zones.

Limited sources of cash such as betelnut and mustard have been destroyed, leaving the people with no way of finding cash to buy store food.

Kapata said this is not a complaint against the government but a desperate appeal on behalf of the people, particularly mothers and children.

The women have prepared a petition to be presented to the Member for Bogia and the Governor for Madang within the next few days. 

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