Manus Islanders face food shortage

National, Normal

The National, Thursday November 7th, 2013

 MANUS Islanders face a shortage of store goods because of the absence of a regular shipping service from Lae.

Derimbat villager Anna Purai, whose son works in Lae, said the asylum refugee camp was getting rations from the islanders’ supply instead of from Australia.

“That is why we are starting to miss out on manufactured food items like rice and sugar,” she said.

Purai said Papindo and Steamships were the only two wholesalers and suppliers for the island’s population of 34,000. With stocks used by the camp, there was little left for the islanders.

“Christmas is near and we really need to stockup for the festive period or we will go hungry. Everything is being bought by the white people from Lombrum.”

Son Paul said Lutheran Shipping had stopped its services to Manus although it still maintained its passenger shipping services to Madang.

“Without a regular shipping service from Lae, the wholesalers on Manus charter boats cannot get adequate supplies to meet local demands.

“With the additional number of asylum seekers in the camp, it is straining resources on the island, especially manufactured items.

“It just shows that our government was only considering the benefits that would come out of the arrangement.”