January 27, 2016
The continuing El Nino drought in the South Pacific has hit the country of Papua New Guinea very hard — and Gebusi are located in one of two select pockets of the country where food shortage, potential starvation, and increased death rates appear to be worst. For details, view the Jan 25 PNG drought report video for details. The first part of the video describes the general PNG situation and conditions in the worst areas such as the eastern part of the Western Province, where Gebusi live. The second part features a missionary who has long association with the Gebusi’s neighbors, the Bedamini people. She describes food shortage that is quite severe in areas that include Gebusi. Highest hopes are that government food relief flights can be arranged to this general area. As the first part of the segment notes, this is very expensive given the remoteness of the area and the difficulty of local airstrips (such as the Nomad airstrip, which remains closed). My fervent hope and wish is that government and relief organizations can get food to Gebusi and neighboring peoples — and that my Gebusi friends, with whom I now have no contact, are using their bush skills and know-how to somehow adapt and survive in the interim, during these extremely challenging conditions. My own planned trip to visit Gebusi next month is necessarily on hold — until flights within Western Province are reestablished and Gebusi themselves have recovered enough to return to their main villages. Let us all hope the best for them, and all those who are suffering from major food shortage in PNG and other areas at the present time.