Councillor Kebei Salee Koeget from Sigabadru village in South Fly district, says drinking water sources are still polluted and the food gardens haven't recovered.
He says he is trying to get government aid for his people and explained the problems to Steve Rice.
Presenter: Steve Rice
Speaker:Councillor Kebei Salee Koeget from Sigabadru village in Papua New Guinea's western Province
KEBEI: I am right in the village sitting on my house verandah now.
RICE: And what's the situation regarding the flood waters?
KEBEI: Ok the flood waters for the last six months we've been experiencing very, very heavy floods around all of south Fly, along the coastline and in those southern villages at the rivers and inland, it was also flooding, and I think it was the first kind of flood that we have actually experienced this year.
RICE: Yeah, did it come up to your verandah where you're sitting?
KEBEI: Yes it did, the water level together with the sea water rose almost a metre high and all the garden crops and everything are under water for about two to three months. Finally ended up when the water level dropped and all the food gardens were destroyed. I think this is a similar kind of experience all around south Fly.
RICE: And when did the water level drop?
KEBEI: That was around May.
RICE: Were people able then to get back into their gardens and start planting?
KEBEI: They're slowing going back to their gardens now. It was not only the water that destroyed their garden crops, but there are animals like deer and pigs and wallaby, because most of the gardens were on the high ground, when all the swamps got filled up with water, so the animals moved towards the gardens and destroyed all the garden crops.
RICE: The animals actually got into the gardens and ate them to survive during the flooding?
KEBEI: That's right, that's correct yes.
RICE: Ok so how did the people live? What sort of food did they get?
KEBEI: Well people from May, after the flood up until now they're surviving on bush tucker and they're surviving sago, especially sagos around the area. There are a lot of sagos around, but those people on the coastline, like my … and the other communities along the coast to the west of Daru, people are really starving because we don't have sagos around there on the coastal areas. But those villagers and our communities they have rivers and swamps, so they're a bit alright with sago. But otherwise everybody is suffering the same way.
RICE: Has the government been able to get any aid supplies through to you?
KEBEI: I was on Daru two and a half weeks ago and I went to check with the government officials there in Daru on arrangements for relief supplies, especially food and medication. But up to date now I don't hear anymore, all the … that money was donated, two million kina donated by AusAid and now there are funds from our provincial government, the Fly provincial government, national government and all the other organisations in Papua New Guinea, there was nothing. But up to date I have no idea what's happening there now.
RICE: So you haven't seen any government aid at all?
KEBEI: Not yet, not yet, so I am intending to travel to Daru today, there's a dinghy coming to pick me up today so I will check on that whether there's any food supplies for us or medical supplies for us from that end.
RICE: Are you running short of medical supplies?
KEBEI: We have nothing, definitely we have nothing. I think all the communities along the coastline we do not have medical supplies up to date.
RICE: Is there more sickness in the villages because of the effects of the flooding, like, did it cause a huge amount of mosquitoes to breed up?
KEBEI: Yes at the moment where I'm sitting now there's a lot of mosquitoes, even in strong sunshine, but there's still plenty of mosquitoes, and people are already getting sick. They are getting fevers, runny noses and all this kind of thing. The drinking water is not good now.
RICE: What happened to the wells?
KEBEI: Well with the big floods and the animals coming in like deer and pigs and wallabies drinking the same water, even dogs, that's not a reliable source of water.
RICE: So the animals contaminate the water supply?
KEBEI: That's right, that's right.
RICE: Do you know what the situation is up the Fly river?
KEBEI: The situation in the Fly I daresay could be the same, maybe it's more west also because of the high level of water that came in and maybe must have really destroyed the island communities at Fly and along the coastline.
RICE: So a huge amount of water came down into the estuary?
KEBEI: That's right. Some councillors from other areas were also complaining to the government authorities to get their relief supplies and we do not know what was the delay.
RICE: You're going to do your best to try and get the government to do something are you?
KEBEI: That's right, so I'll be travelling to Daru today. Also the other purpose that I am going to Daru is to meet the Australian NGO group and some other government agencies coming to assist us.