GROUP SAYS AUSTRALIA SHOULD FOCUS ON POVERTY IN PNG

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15 percent of population struggles to survive

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 15, 2010) - The aid organization Care Australia says a study detailing chronic disadvantage in Yelia, in Papua New Guinea's (PNG) Eastern Highlands, is indicative of conditions for about 15 percent of the country's population.

[PIR editor’s note: Care Papua New Guinea has worked in PNG since 1989. It employs over 40 staff in the country and states to have improved the quality of life of over 13,000 people in 20 villages.]

The study has found the people of Yelia have very poor diets, very low levels of education and an infant mortality rate of about one in five, twice the national average for PNG.

Care's CEO, Julia Newton-Howes, has outlined the details at a conference on PNG aid and education at the Australian National University in Canberra.

She says it's an emergency that underlines why Australia's AU$450 million [US$422 million] in aid to PNG should be focused on poverty alleviation.

"Fifteen percent of the population living in disadvantaged areas, unlikely to realize their human rights, to fulfill their potential as active citizens of PNG's future. This disadvantage is being passed on from generation to generation. Its a chronic humanitarian emergency which deserves to be addressed. Addressing it should be at the core of Australia's aid program."

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