SEA HITS FOOD SUPPLIES ON PAPUA NEW GUINEA ATOLLS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (March 24, 2001 – NAU-FM/PINA Nius Online)---Papua New Guinea islanders on atolls near Bougainville are severely affected by what they say are rising sea levels destroying food gardens.

Acting Provincial Administrative Secretary Aaron Rigamu said these islands also are missing out on basic services, such as school, medicine and food supplies. This is because their main shipping service has not been in operation for almost a year.

Rigamu said the vessel which provided the service, MV Sankamap, is currently in Cairns, Australia, undergoing maintenance.

He said the rising sea levels coupled with the absence of shipping services have affected the livelihood of the people. He added that while Carteret Island can be reached by 40 horsepower outboard-powered boats other islands in the area rely on the shipping services.

He said the office of the Bougainville Affairs has allocated K 120,000 (US$ 36,840) for relief supplies.

Meanwhile, he said ships will be chartered from Buka and Rabaul to restore services.

He said the Papua New Guinea government has also been alerted about the current situation.

Earlier reports also said that relocation of Carteret Islanders to mainland Bougainville has been delayed because of the lack of funds. Officials continue to seek financial assistance from outside donors.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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