RICE BOUND FOR HUNGRY PNG ISLANDERS GOES MISSING

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250 bales sent to Carteret Isles, 150 arrive

By Romulus Masiu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 10, 2008) - Bougainville’s Carterets islanders are reportedly going hungry after a big potion of food rations destined for the island went missing while on transit between Buka and Carterets.

[PIR editor’s note: The Carteret Islands are located 53 miles northeast of Bougainville. ]

Tulele Peisa, a non-government organization (NGO), said last week the Buka-based Atolls district office promised to freight 250 bales of rice on local boat MV Sibona to the starving island population.

However, they claimed only 155 rice bales were distributed to families on the Carterets, adding that in Yosala, 23 bales was distributed to 32 families where individuals received four packets of rice each.

Other islanders missed out. In a letter to Bougainville administrator Raymond Masono, the NGO wanted to know where the other 72 rice bales went and how four packets of rice can sustain a family for a month. It said four packets of rice to a family were not enough.

The NGO said islanders on Piul, Han and Yosala are now living on dry coconuts and fish. With the rising sea level causing shoreline degradation and washing away of food gardens, more than 2,000 Carterets islanders are now left with nothing and are at the mercy of the Bougainville administration to feed them.

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