El Nino Reflief Funding Concern

by Bethanie Harriman – EM TV News, Lae

The Opposition camp has raised concerns about funding allocations from the National Government toward affected areas.

The country is facing El Nino like effects of drought and frost midway through the long dry spell.

Food gardens in parts of the Western Highlands, Chimbu and Southern Highlands are being destroyed by frost at night and heat by day.

Opposition Leader, Don Polye, didn’t downplay the state of PNG’s economy and how the dry spell may cripple a portion of the country’s rural population.

“We are being hit by an El Nino drought and also a financial drought,” he said.

“The Government doesn’t have the money to supply relief supplies.”

It’s been argued by an economic analyst that the Papua New Guinean economy is in trouble, and allegedly been downplayed by the government.

Chief Secretary, Sir Manasupe Zurenoc says Menyamya has received K500,000 directly from the National Government, while other areas severely affected are being assisted.

He will release a full report of the relief assistance in the next several days.

Majority of districts and provinces are withdrawing money from essential projects to supply relief assistance in the meantime.

Last week, Henganofi District pulled K500,000 from Health to supply food to its grassland areas severely affected.

Earlier this month, the Morobe Provincial Government did the same; it pulled funds from essential services to buy relief supplies for Waria after the Bulolo district also sent supplies.

But the long-term solutions to the dry spell have been thought out, and again, funding is needed.

On Tuesday NARI Director General, Dr. Sergie Bang called for support from the government and stakeholders to get early maturing plants to farmers to plant before with a short rainy period, between December and February.


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