Cyclone, Drought Ravaged Koro Island In Fiji Suffering From Lack Of Food

Adults reportedly skipping meals to ensure children have sufficient food

By Sikeli Qounadovu And Mere Naleba

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 27, 2016) – Food is reportedly scarce on Koro Island with some parents and elders in all 14 villages skipping their meals in order to provide a decent meal for their children.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston damaged farms, forcing villagers to survive on food rations and wild cassava that survived the monster cyclone on February 20.

Nakodu Village headman Alipate Tiko said they harvested vegetables from seedlings provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and the United Nations Development Programme.

Mr Tiko said because of the long drought, many vegetable farms did not survive.

"There is a real need for food for our children and our elders. The wild cassava is not enough for them. We are barely surviving. There is the fear that should the problem continue, the village could be empty as many villagers will have to leave for mainland Viti Levu," he said.

Naqaidamu Village headman Niko Komairavoka said they were running low on wild cassava.

"Before Cyclone Winston the wild cassava (vora) was usually a delicacy for the animals — horse and pigs — but now we have to chase them away because it is for our consumption," he said.

"We are hoping Government and stakeholders will come to our aid."

Tuatua Village headman Laisiasa Caukilai said: "Our children are more important to us. We have to ensure that there is food for them even if it means there is none for us."

Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Minister Inia Seruiratu confirmed receiving a call from a district representative on Koro Island on the food issue.

"Assistance will be provided, but not straight away as the Agriculture and Health ministries have to conduct their own surveys before we meet to decide on the issue," he said.

Mr Seruiratu said the first issue was malnutrition in children, but it was solved as the Government provided porridge and other food stuff.

Fiji Times Online.
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