Drought Disaster

Bulb onion farmers concerned at decision to lift ban

“We think you haven't proven the farmers yet because the ban was only in force for three months (August - November) and in the peak of the El Nino drought,” says Toppy Sundu from Gembolg, the home of bulb onions in the country.

“Is the decision made in favor of the disadvantaged rural population whose livelihoods depend entirely on agriculture or in the interest of few minority consumers in towns and cities who are working class and business people?” Sundu asked.

Pom chamber of commerce hits out at Tomscoll ban

Attended on August 12, business houses were restricted from importing bulb onion, potato (Iris), cabbage, carrot, tomato, capsicum, pumpkin, peas, zucchini, eggplant, pachchoi/Chinese cabbage, French bean, lettuce and celery.

Agriculture Minister Tommy Tomscoll lifted the ban last week after a severe shortage of bulb onions and other vegetables hit the country, increasing prices because local farmers could not meet the country's  demand.          

“The decision was ill-considered and showed his lack of consultation on such matters,” said Conn.

Over 67,000 affected by drought in Fiji

The Principal Disaster Management Officer, Sunia Ratulevu, says water trucks and tanks have been sent to the worst-affected places.

The remote Yasawa Island group has received water from visiting ships.

Mr Ratulevu says despite a tropical depression some weeks ago, there was not enough sustained rain to provide the necessary relief.

UN increasing efforts to combat PNG drought

The El Nino influenced drought is forecast to continue into 2016.

The United Nations' Development Programme's Country Director in PNG, Roy Trivedy, says his and other international agencies have been asked to step up the help they provide.

He says UN agencies are already helping farmers in various capacities and will be working on other issues such as food security for the estimated 848,000 people the government says are already in a state of stress.

Mr Trivedy says if the drought worsens he expects those figures to rise.

Polye slams Govt over funds idea for drought relief

Polye in a statement says the District Services Improvement Programs funds have  been already budgeted for other infrastructure purposes and cannot be used for the drought relief.

He was responding to Finance Minister James Marape’s media release last Friday allowing districts to use K2 million each from DSIP funds which he labelled as a ‘cheap strategy by the government’.

“Besides, we have not even received more than half of the promised K15 million DSIP allocations and here the government is calling for the K2m to be cut from our budget,” says Polye.

Rain falls at Sirinumu as PNG Power makes pledge over dam use

Mr Laun Medakaou, PNG Power water management officer, told the media in a visit to the dam site today that the current water level stands at 139 million cubic metres.

The full water capacity for the dam is 340 million cubic metres.

He said that PNG Power and water provider Eda Ranu have a verbal agreement  stating that when the water level drops to 100 million cubic metres, PNG Power will stop using the water catchment to generate electricity and the water will be used only by Eda Ranu to supply water to the city.

Social media group aids drought stricken island

Panuselu villagers received 64 bags of rice and 1400 litres of water shipped from Lorengau yesterday.

Group administrator Bap Korup said it was a successful appeal for a village of about 400 people.

"I would like to thank Coastal Fuel Lorengau for donation of fuel, and the Port Moresby Institute of Matriculation (PIMS)  for initiating the donations when the appeal was made. Many members of the group chipped in after that,’’ he said.

Loniu people set example for Manus helping Manus

Loniu village is on Los Negros island, adjacent to Manus Island and cut off by the narrow Loniu passage. They have a local water supply system drawing water from the underground water system.

"It is our blessing so we will share it free with others. Islands with a severe water problem can be assisted free. It is the Manus way,” said Mr Songayeu Pochelep, a prominent Loniu villager.

PNG DF challenged to provide assistance during disaster events

He says the growing capacity of our Defence force is going to be even more important in the years ahead as challenges around the world increase.

“Our Disciplined Forces are also increasingly required to work as part of a whole-of-government effort,” he says.

O’Neill says that meeting some of the challenges in the years ahead including disasters will occur more than ever before due to climate change.

“We can expect more floods, more cyclones and more droughts to affect our country into the future.