PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare told Australians that Papua New Guinea has sufficient food and people are not starving to death.
“… if you compare Papua New Guinea, with starvation, I think you have got it completely wrong, because our people have plenty in their villages. We have village society, we live in our traditional villages”, Sir Michael said.
Sir Michael said this in Australia during a joint press conference with his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd earlier last week.
An Australian journalist asked the Prime Minister to confirm that the Australian tax payer’s money given to PNG in the form of aid is well spent.
“As a witness to your country’s poverty, I know that there are children starving, scavenging the streets for food, living out of cardboard boxes”.
“Can you guarantee Australians that every cent of their 0 million is going where it needs to?” an Australian journalist asked.
Sir Michael did not outline how the aid is spent to curb the alleged starvation.
But he said his government has allocated almost K980 million in the history of PNG towards the districts to help the rural population.
He however confirmed that there are children from parents who migrate to towns and cities living on the streets in Port Moresby and Lae but said the poverty in cities is not the reflection of actual village life which has surplus of food.
Sir Michael confirmed that there are one or two children in Port Moresby living on the streets and starving.“There is no-one in Papua New Guinea starving in the traditional villages. You probably see one or the two in Port Moresby - kids who come to look for opportunities for education and health, when they miss out, then they of course roam the streets,” Sir Michael said.
Sir Michael said PNG is not like Ethopia in Africa which has its population dying from starvation.
He said in Port Moresby, people have gardens in the hillsides to rely for food.
“But I just want to give you assurance that no one is starving in Papua New Guinea. We always have something to eat,” he said.