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Islanders take risks travelling by OBM to Honiara as food shortage hit MOI

The distance between OJ and Honiara
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Battling the rough seas, high waves and long hours in the wild ocean, islanders fro Ontong Java commonly known as the Malaita Outer Islands (MOI) have been risking their lives to Honiara lately in search of food supply to the islands as ships have not been travelling there.

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Chief Viauli (in maroon top) with chiefs from Luaniua and Pelau today

The distance between Ontong Java and Honiara is about 467km.

And, the islands’ chiefs of Liuaniua and Pelau are pleading for government intervention to urgently deliver food supplies as their people face acute food shortage.

Speaking exclusively to SBMOnline, Chief Hugo Kivans Viauli said his people have been taking risks to travel to Honiara with some to Isabel just to get food for the islands.

He said with no regular shipping, coupled with food shortage because of poor crop harvest due to rising sea–his people are in desperate need of food support from Honiara.

“We are appealing to the NDMO to help us with food,” said Viauli.

According to one of the chiefs, people travelling from MOI often take huge risks. They normally take off from the islands around 4am and arrive in the evening in Honiara. At times they take shelter in Isabel.

“It is a huge risk but they have to take it because our people need food,” he said.

The chiefs are in Honiara as part of their efforts in rallying the government to support them with relief supply and to also ask the ministry of fisheries to allow them a three-month-window period to open bech-de-mer to help them deal with food shortage.

The chiefs admitted that life is so difficult for the more than 4,000 people in the islands and appeal for government support.


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