DROUGHT STRICKEN PNG ISLANDERS LIVING ON MANGROVE SEEDS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (September 25, 1997 - PACNEWS)--- Seven thousand people on Nissan and Pinefel islands in Papua New Guinea's North Solomons Province, which includes the embattled island of Bougainville, have completely run out of fresh water and are living on mangrove seeds.

The province's government representative, Agnes Titus, says there has been no rain for five months and all sources of fresh water on the islands have dried up, the Post-Courier reports.

Titus reports many islanders are suffering from dysentery, diarrhea and other stomach disorders and has begged for supplies of fresh water, greens and other garden produce. She said Papua New Guinea government authorities and the National Disaster and Emergency Services (NDES) have failed to respond to her pleas for help. But the Bougainville Premier, Gerard Sinato, said he is aware of the situation and has sent an urged report to the NDES.

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