According to Ronny Pansa, an official in the ministry of Regional Development, the situation in the villages Kwamalasemutu, Tepu, Kawemhakan, Palumeu and Apetina is very serious after a bad harvest, due to extreme weather conditions and fiddling cankers.
Over the weekend the ministry prepared hampers containing basic food items totaling over 1,600 kilos to distribute in the affected area as of Thursday. The National Coordination Centre for Disaster Management (NCCR) is in charge of the relief operations.
News of the imminent food shortage started trickling in two weeks ago when villagers informed the authorities over the failure of the cassava crop, the main staple food in the area, and which yielded less than average quantities, to sustain the local communities. Over 3,000 individuals live in the five communities.
As a result of the mass flooding of the same area just a year ago, villagers didn’t plant as much as they were accustomed to. Furthermore, fiddling cankers caused massive damage to cassava fields and other crops.
Bad harvest, due to flooding and fiddling cankers, are common in these remote Amerindian villages, close to the border with Brazil. The area is only accessible by plane, making transportation of regular food items such as cooking oil, salt, sugar, rice and flour very expensive. If necessary the authorities will continue the food distributions, said Pansa.
In May 2006 a large part of the Suriname interior was affected by serious flooding after weeks of torrential rains hit the area. Over 25,000 Amerindians and maroons, descendants of runaway African slaves, were affected, while several thousands had to be relocated. Since then the situation has returned to normalcy and a flood monitoring system has been established.
Author: Ivan Cairo
Source: Caribbean Net News