Food relief to the Shortlands in the western border has commenced Monday this week.
The Permanent Secretary of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and NDMO Chair, Dr Melchior Mataki, confirmed that the food relief delivery is led by the provincial disaster livelihood committee under the Ministry of Agriculture.
Shortlanders have been appealing for government support in terms of food support as the traditional border between Bougainville is closed due to COVID-19. They usually travel to nearby Buin town and other parts of Bougainville for trading likewise those from PNG side often cross to Solomon Islands’ side to trade their goods.
Mataki said the provincial livelihood committee is also working with the communities in Shortlands to deliver the food supply.
He made it clear that the food relief is temporary and covers all 23 communities in Shortlands and Mono Island.
The PS said distribution will be based on households.
The food supply includes 30 tonnes of rice or about 1,800 bags of 20kg and 84 cartons of Soltuna products.
Asked if the relief will be made to other parts of the country as well? Mataki replied: “Food relief does not come out of thin air. Our provincial disaster committees that are made up of technical agencies of the government and the provinces when they see the need— they do a proper assessment— and put it through the National Disaster Emergency Centre for consideration then food relief can be made.”
On the question whether it would go other border communities, Mataki said not as yet.