The National – Thursday, June 23, 2011
THE government has responded favourably to the request for assistance of the starving Nissan islanders in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville with food and medical supplies.
During question time in Parliament on Tuesday, the newly elected MP for North Bougainville Lauta Atoi asked the acting prime minister if the government could assist his people who had been affected by drought.
Yesterday, the department of Inter-Government Relations, through the office of Disaster and Emergency and the office of Border Development Authority (BDA), allocated K300,000 to assist the starving people.
Chairman of national disaster and emergency services and secretary for Provincial and Local Level Government Manasupe Zurenuoc presented K200,000 while executive chairman of BDA Pomat Manuai presented K100,000 and donated a ship to transport the relief cargo and medical assistance.
Zurenuoc said the funds would be used to purchase rations for the islanders while the ship would be used to transport food and also to assist with medical assistance as the mv Andrias was installed with medical equipment and supplies.
He said that the funds would be used to help during the initial stage while waiting for accurate information from the ground, which will see a review after the reports are received.
Manuai said it was the first time the BDA was involved in such assistance and, since the region was a border region, they were pleased to assist.
He said that BDA had used one of its ships to assist people from Manam while there were plans to repatriate Sepiks from Bulolo.
Meanwhile, Atoi thanked the two agencies and the government for the quick response, a day after he raised the issue on the floor of parliament.
He said his people would be happy to receive assistance but, in the long run, he plans to look at sustainable food security for the islanders.
He said more than 10,000 people on the atolls would benefit.