28 May 2003

Emergency food to be sent to Cateret Islanders in PNG

6:23 am on 28 May 2003

A Bougainville Administrator say food donated by local villages will be shipped to the 2-thousand people starving in the remote Cateret Islands this weekend.

Franklyn Lacey says there has been positive feedback to the food drive he began after the National Disaster Office admitted there were no immediate funds available to help the islanders.

Mr Lacey says the islanders are suffering from malnutrition as there is no food on the Caterets because high tides have destroyed crops and gardens.

He says for the past five months they have been surviving solely on the fish they catch..

Mr Lacey says the situation is so bad that school has been suspended indefinitely so that children can help find food.

But he says a shipment of food supplies will go to the Caterets this weekend.

"At present now we are getting feed back from people....They are gathering food, kaukau, sweet potato, banana and whatever the people can supply for us to take over to the island. On the 31st, we are picking up foodstuffs, then we are taking them over to the island."

Franklyn Lacey, Bougainville Provincial Administration Executive.