26 May 2003

People of PNG's Cateret Atolls desperate for food aid

3:57 pm on 26 May 2003

Two thousand people on a remote group of islands on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville are making a desperate appeal for food aid.

The Post Courier reports that the people of Cateret Islands are surviving on the fish they catch because their gardens are ruined by the encroachment of tides.

The Atolls district manager, Paul Tobasi and Bougainville Provincial Administratrion Executive, Franklyn Lacey, say the problem is made worse because of the declining number of ships and boats visiting the island.

They say outside help is needed to save the islanders and that they have written and distributed appeal letters to all business houses in Bougainville.

The two administrators say have notified the National Disaster Office but were told that funding is very hard to come by.

Health authorities are currently on the islands to carry out medical checks on the islanders.