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The drought impact continues: Over 200,000 still need food aid

WFP supplies come to Hela ProvinceABC News

THE World Food Program says more than 200,000 people are still in need of food aid in Papua New Guinea's highlands, as the region continues its slow recovery from the most severe El Nino-related drought in decades.

The WFP also started distributing food in Milne Bay Province this week, hoping to reach more than 50,000 people.

"We have already reached 127,000 [people] so they have been given six weeks' rations, but we need to restart the same activity again for another round and then they should be able to manage on their own," WFP Emergency Coordinator Mats Persson told the ABC.

While the El Nino weather event is officially over, many families still have months to wait before their gardens produce food.

The effort to get food aid delivered by trucks to the most remote parts of the affected provinces has also proved a challenge.

"It is difficult to get into the mountainous areas where the rains have already started, so the roads are not very easy to manoeuvre through with large containers," Mr Persson said.

"But we try to bring the food up to as close as the population as we can, which is of course difficult.

"They still might have to walk two to four hours to actually get a distribution site and take the food back up in the mountains."

"It's a $12.6 million operation. We are funded up to $9.2 million right now, with generous donations from USA, Japan and the European Community.

"But we're still seeking donations for carrying out the complete operation."

In the meantime, other aid agencies are working with local farmers to produce crops that can resist the effect of drought and frost in future.

"The farmers are planting in the fields and working with the (aid) partners, so we hope that it is a one-off situation.

"Of course, feeding people doesn't help them for the future and so we fully understand that there has to be a joint effort for this.

"We're working with the food security cluster in the country to make sure that there are parallel solutions taking place."


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Michael Dom

Ah, giaman!

Oloman! Gavman bin mekim bikpela kibung blong ol long Alotau ia, hau na ol lain long Milne Bay tok ol i bagarap long hangre iet?

Ol i mas belhat long VONC na straik o?

Harim, Pita Pita Pumpkin Eater ibin tok olsem em bisi tumas olsem na husat lain ilaik helpim ol man meri long ples bagarap na igat hangre em moa beta yupla ken mekim long laik na strong blong yupla iet.

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