A Chief at Aorigi, Santa Catalina in Makira Ulawa Province has raised concerns over why his drought-affected community has missed out on relief supplies.
Chief Paul Sukuru told SIBC News their food gardens have been affected by the continuous dry season since last year and the recent bad weather has destroyed what they have left.
He says they are currently surviving on fruit trees and with little help from family members who are home for holidays.
Mr. Sukuru questioned why the relief supplies have to go to West Makira for a second time around.
“As a Chief, on behalf of my people of Aoringi, why did they have to go back to the same place in West Makira with the relief supplies because as far as I know from last year somewhere in August and September relief supplies have also been dispatched to West Makira in relation to flash flooding caused by the Cyclone Pam. Now they are doing another round of supplies whereas for us in Santa Ana and Aoringi are still waiting for relief supplies.”
Meanwhile, National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) Programs Officer Brian Tom says the relief supplies belong to victims of the tropical cyclone Raquel in July last year.
He says NDMO has to go through certain processes to access funds before any relief supplies can be available.
“The relief supplies were responses to TC Raquel. The National Disaster Management Office is responding according to reports so last year reports from TC Raquel came in but were delayed because of certain processes that the office has to go through in accessing funds from the relevant ministry, which is the Ministry of Finance. That is to address the impacts of tropical cyclone Raquel at that time, but then there was a delay so supplies were finally delivered in December.”
However, the NDMO Programs Officer assures that they will address the affected communities of Aorigi when spending payments are ready.
“We have the beneficiaries list of those from the islands especially, one of which is Aoringi. The beneficiaries lists are prepared and our office is helping with relief operation plans and we are only preparing this, but we will spend only upon receiving a warrant of spending from the relevant government ministry.”
He adds tropical cyclone Raquel and the current drought are two separate events that should not be confused.