10 May 2005

Solomon Islands cabinet to discuss assistance for starving Reef Islanders

2:46 pm on 10 May 2005

The Solomon Islands cabinet is to hear the latest assessment of the critical food shortage in the Reef Islands before deciding what assistance to give.

The cabinet discussion is due to take place today or tomorrow, following reports that 6-thousand Reef Islanders have had very little to eat for at least the past month, and that people have died of starvation.

The under secretary of home affairs, Solomon Palusi, says the government is now doing its best to minimise the suffering.

He says the National Disaster Management Office has been directed to prepare assistance.

"The situation now is that the NDMO has now completed the work requested of it and has launched a request for funding with the department of Home Affairs. And this request is currently being processed. So at the moment the department is now preparing a cabinet paper for cabinet endorsement and then will continue to progress the issue for provision of food, especially rice, to be provided to the people in Temotu."

Solomon Palusi from the Home Affairs ministry in Honiara.