COMMUNITIES within the Weathercoast region of San Christobel Island in Makira Ulawa province that are badly affected by the cyclone Harold a few months ago are still waiting for the government to send them the relief suppliers promised.
Chief Hudson Haotai from Marou village in the Haununu district told the paper on Wednesday there were two cyclones that directly hit them this year.
Mr. Haotai said the first one hit them just after the New Year before cyclone Harold in April.
He said since the disaster until today, many of them especially those living along the weather coast of the island are facing difficulties in terms of food.
“Most of us, we rely on bananas as our staple food but after the cyclone Harold, all of our food gardens especially the bananas were all swept away and now our people found it very hard to find food,” he said.
He said though they have other food crops, their main food that they rely much on which is banana was no longer available now.
Chief Haotai said after the cyclone, the only food they survived on is the home swamp taro (Kakake) which now also running out.
“Usually at our home, we only eat Kakake during feast especially making it into pudding but now that is the only food we survived on until today.
“Those of us that badly affected by the cyclone and currently facing food shortage are communities within the Weather coast side of the island. That includes ward 5 and 6 from Arosi, 18 and 19 from Ravo and ward 20 in Haununu,” he added.
Mr. Haotai said since the disaster is getting worst for them; their only hope is for the government to assist them with some food relief suppliers.
“Our call now is for the government to step in and provide us food relief because right now we have no food and nowhere else for us to get food to keep us alive,” he said.
He said the province has a disaster office in Kirakira but they only conducted an assessment and after that, no relief suppliers were distributed.
Brian Nahu also from Haununu said they were informed that the People Republic of China (PRC) has donated $800,000 worth of funds to support those affected including other donors but where are those funds now?
He said his people are suffering now and why not the government quickly disperse those relief supplies to help them.
Earlier on the Ministry of Environment Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorological Service (MECDM) claimed they have completed the assessment on the damages caused by Tropical cyclone Harold early last month.
Permanent Secretary, Melchior Mataki said once the assessment is done, the work on dishing out relief suppliers should also begin.
“We are finalising our assessment of TC Harold impacts in the country and once this is completed, we should know the scope of impacts and the appropriate response measures to be implemented to address the impacts,” he said.
He said currently they are waiting on the assessment to show which areas of assistance is more needed so that it can be provided accordingly.
He said with regards to the donated funds by donors, the funds have not been released to National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) as it has been held in an account set up by the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MOFT) at CBSI.
“Once our assessment is done, we will then raise payments for goods and services through the normal process to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury,” he said.
By IAN M.KAUKUI