Australia will provide assistance to Pacific Island countries as they strive to deal with the challenges caused by the El Niño weather pattern.
Last week Australian Foreign and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato joined in the PNG Highlands and wotnessed areas affected by drought and unseasonal frosts that have destroyed food gardens and crops.
Australia will provide a $9 million package of assistance to assist communities and governments across the Pacific to prepare for and respond to the effects of El Niño.
In PNG, the Australian Government will provide a $5 million package to:
- improve food security for around 500,000 people by providing seed stock for drought resistant crops;
- determine water and sanitation needs across at least six provinces in partnership with non-government organisations (NGOs);
- support vulnerable groups including children, women and the elderly through church health services;
- support the National Disaster Centre, NGOs and local churches to improve logistics and coordination efforts; and
- provide high quality mapping of the impact of the drought on water, vegetation and crops with the support of Geoscience Australia.
A further $4 million will be provided to support international humanitarian NGOs response efforts across the broader Pacific, where the El Niño is also affecting the availability of food and water