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‘Economy of Middle Bush people at stake’

By Godwin Ligo PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 15, 2011) – In Vanuatu, two weeks of heavy rainfall on Tanna has caused flooding that severely affected garden crops, plants and livestocks in the Middle Bush areas of the island.

Anna Shing from the Pacific Community Focused Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction Desk under the Vanuatu Christian Council told Daily Post yesterday that she has just returned from Tanna and the flood continues to threaten the population of Middle Bush.

"Heavy rainfall over the past two weeks and this week has made the situation worse. Roads in the Middle Bush areas are flooded along with garden crops, plants and livestock. Island taros, kumala, bananas and kava have all gone rotten. Even coffee beans are affected by the heavy rainfall," she told Daly Post.

"The entire economy of the Middle Bush people on Tanna is at stake, ruined by both the heavy rainfall and flooding that has continued for over two weeks," concerned Anna Shing said.

Asked if the National Disaster Management Office have been notified of the Middle Bush flooding, she said the NDMO is already aware of the situation and awaits reports from the TAFEA Disaster Committee before providing necessary assistance to the affected population.

"Practically all taro plants, cassava, kumala and kava which is the biggest revenue earner for the population of the Middle Bush in Tanna, are totally destroyed by the heavy rainfall and flooding that have washed away crops and plants and trees. And roads are marred by continued heavy rainfall and flooding," she said.

"It will take months and even years to see kava and food crops, plants and coffee beans ready to turn cash for the population of the Middle Bush," the concerned VCC Disaster Officer Shing said.

"This is the worst flood I have seen and also according to the population of the Middle Bush on Tanna. When I left Tanna two days ago, vehicles could not still cross most roads in the Middle Bush areas because of flooding resulting from continued heavy rainfall on the island over the past two weeks. This has also affected mobile phone communication that rely on solar chargers, "she said.

Ms Anna Shing was on Tanna conducting workshops with the communities on the island on Disaster Risk Reduction (Faith Based) under the Vanuatu Christian Council.

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