Neighbouring villagers helping victims replant gardens

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ABOUT 3,000 people affected by a hailstorm during Christmas are being supported by family members to replant their damaged kaukau gardens.
The 45-minute hailstorm on Dec 25 affected members of the Truka/Memeka tribes in the Ulka council ward, some from Jiga Muguka and Kumuga/Paga tribes living in Hagen Central, Western Highlands.
Former assistant bishop Zau Rapa from the Truka-Memeka tribe said from Kunjika village that other neighbouring tribes were also helping out.
“Our daughters who got married to them or their daughters who got married to my tribesmen, they help by supplying kaukau veins,” he said.
Rapa said kaukau was their staple food and it would take six months to mature.
“Our provincial disaster office said they do not have money to assist us so we can’t wait. As Melanesians, we have this mentality of helping one and another during times of disaster and trouble,” he said.
He said the lack of food was the biggest problem in his village and others affected by the hailstorm.
Provincial disaster coordinator Robin Yakumb said the National Disaster and Emergency Centre were aware of the problem and arranging assistance.