Food shortage in Milne Bay

National, Normal


THERE are food shortage problems in three districts of Milne Bay province.
The provincial disaster centre is currently addressing the shortage in Alotau, Esa’ala and Kiriwina-Goodenough districts.
Provincial disaster coordinator Eric Balaria said officers had carried out assessments in September and found that the shortages were brought on by weather patterns and human activity.
Mr Balaria returned to Alotau last week from Port Moresby where he sought funds to assist the affected areas.
The affected areas are Rabaraba and Cape Vogel, Gumowana, East and West Fergusson and the Normanby and Kiriwina Islands.
Mr Balaria said Rabaraba and Cape Vogel were areas prone to drought.
He said these areas would experience dry periods in the months beginning from September to January which would adversely affect the growth of food crops.
He also said that feral animals such as pigs and wallabies were destroying food gardens out of hunger in Gumawana and the islands of Normanby and Fergusson.
Mr Balaria said the change in human activity had also contributed to the shortage of food in those areas.
He said people were clearing more forest further inland to plant their food gardens thus disturbing the natural habitat of the animals.   
Mr Balaria said his office had already shipped 800 bales of rice to Kiriwina.
The disaster centre has also made arrangements to purchase seedlings and coconuts from other areas to be taken to Kiriwina for planting.
He said the other affected areas would receive supplies once funding was secured.