OVER the last month there has been some rain in Simbu, one of the worst affected provinces by the El Nino driven drought in Papua New Guinea.
In the high altitude Simbu (1,500 to 2,500 metres above sea level), kaukau tubers take six to nine months to form.
While some newer varieties now can yield in three to four months, as was seen in the 1997 drought, tubers don't usually form early. So the shortage in food in Simbu will continue for a long while yet.
To make matters worse, the government has not carried out reliable assessments of the extent of the drought in the provinces, especially here in the central highlands.
The responsiveness, coordination and management by authorities in terms of provision of relief food to affected communities have been very disappointing. This has been evidenced time and again in Simbu.
Since the rain some vegetables in the gardens and around the houses are showing signs of rejuvenation. But no serious starch crops, like kaukau, have yet emerged.
We hope for some better coordination from now in the distribution of seeds, kaukau vines, tapioca sticks, corn seed and so on.
The basic logistics of recovery are required as the people struggle to get back to their normal subsistence lives.