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Wednesday 24 August 2016 | Published in Regional


- 529 cases per 100,000 population = one of the highest prevalence rates in the world.

- $62 = the drug cost of treating someone with standard TB for six months.

- $12,420 = the drug cost of treating someone with multi-drug resistant TB for two years including six months in hospital.

- $20,700 = the drug cost of treating someone with extensively drug resistant TB.

- Children = 26 per cent of detected cases in PNG.

Cyclone hit Fiji islanders forage for food

FIJI – People on Fiji’s devastated Koro Island are foraging for wild food, milling their own timber and sewing fishing nets out of vines to survive six months after Cyclone Winston.

“Everything’s being done manually – people dragging rocks with their bare hands, just using a rope. It just really touched me.” Fiji Red Cross Disaster Officer, Itu Josaia, said.

Koro took a direct hit and was described from the Category 5 storm which flattened whole villages and killed 44 people in Fiji.

Josaia said, as elsewhere in Fiji, there was a wait for hardware so the villagers have taken the matter into their own hands.

Josaia visited Koro Island three weeks ago with tarpaulins and shelter kits after a cry for help from the islanders.

“When we got in it was visible that people were still waiting and were in need of tarpaulins. The tarps that they received were in the first assistance right after Winston, so those tarps were actually leaking or worn out.”

Josaia said people weren’t going hungry despite receiving their last lot of food rations in May.

The cyclone destroyed all their food crops and food gardens have since been replanted – but in the meantime the islanders have been tracking down staple crops like yams and taro from the wild.

The Koro Islanders have also proved resourceful in their fishing techniques.

On its trail of destruction through Fiji, Winston smashed up fishing boats and washed away tackle and nets, a primary means of food gathering for many communities.

“You will be surprised. They have gone back to their old cultural stuff. Like how to make nets and all that stuff using vines from the forest,” said Josaia.

“Even though they were going through hardship, they are still surviving.”

He said the islanders were also not waiting for timber and other supplies to arrive to rebuild their houses.

Villagers from Nasau, one of the island’s 14 villages, were using a portable sawmill to mill their own wood for the 100 homes they wanted to rebuild.

At least 30,000 homes were damaged by Winston, more than a third of those completely destroyed as on Koro. - RNZI