Under Section 200 of the Bougainville Constitution, the Bougainville Executive Council has declared a State of Emergency in the Atolls Constituency for the next 21 days effective immediately.
Our people in the Atolls Constituency are currently suffering the aftermath of the King tide that swept across all the outer low lying islands throughout the Atolls Constituency.
All the communities there are severely affected, with their homes, gardens and properties now underwater.
The immediate effect is that the Bougainville Atoll islanders are going hungry with the strong winds and king tides destroying food gardens.
The sudden surge in tide has seen waves has destroyed food gardens food where the people grow crops like bananas, swamp taro and breadfruit.
This natural phenomenon that has caused a lot of suffering to our people falls with the ambit of any other natural calamity, within the meaning of emergency as defined under section 197 of the Bougainville Constitution.
As such, using powers vested in the ABG under the Bougainville Emergency Act 2006, as authorized under the Bougainville Constitution, made pursuant to section 322 of the Constitution of Papua New Guinea, the BEC has powers to declare a State of Emergency throughout the whole Atolls Constituency for 21 days.
Acting Deputy Chief Secretary – Operations, Michael Otoroa has been appointed as the Controller and Health Secretary Clement Totavun as Deputy.
The controller will immediately conduct an assessment of the situation as to how the government will respond to the crisis in the Atolls.
We welcome the support by the National Government, development partners and other important stakeholders who want to assist the ABG with the situation at the Atolls.
The people of the Atolls are the very first environmental refuges in the world due to rising sea levels and the dilemma they face in the islands is a no longer a local issue but has become a global issue.
Hon. Ishmael Toroama, MHR
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