Bougainville. Papua New Guinea press review
Papua New Guinea enters the fourth week of the State of Emergency to combat the spread of COVID-19. According to the President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARB), John Momis, Bougainville is inadequately prepared to handle the COVID-19 outbreak. Mr Momis said about it during addressing the heads of the Bougainville public service and other stakeholders in Buka. The meeting was held to gauge views of the heads of the departments in the Bougainville administration and other stakeholders in the region to collectively work as a team to roll out the next State of Emergency (SoE) lockdown phase for two months. President of ARB also said Bougainville didn’t have facilities for quarantine and isolation, no personal protective equipment and no experience to counter COVID-19. Mr Momis expressed concern that local residents don’t fully comply with the established rules under the SoE and urged them to take precaution to stop the expansion of COVID-19.
Locals in Bougainville are concern of an impending shortage of protein in the province, which is attributed to a massive breakdown in the supply chains as movement of people, goods and services have also been suspended. As stated Bougainville Emergency and Disaster Coordinator Linus Sahoto, the people on Nissan Island are also experiencing an unprecedented food shortage with their crops devastated by a series of extreme weather events due to constant torrential rain.
The Autonomous Region of Bougainville government through the disaster and emergency office has donated 280 bales of rice and 80 cartons of noodles to flood affected villagers in Mainuki village, in South Bougainville. Mainuki villagers have been warned to move up to higher grounds to avoid further destructions.
Two Bougainville policemen have been arrested for crossing the border into Solomon Islands at the weekend, in contravention of COVID-19 restrictions. As stated Controller of the State of Emergency Francis Tokura: «the police should maintain the trust the people have in them by doing their duties honestly and complying with the SoE orders». Currently any breaches by police would mean suspension and hefty bail conditions.