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  1. Paul Flanagan
    Paul Flanagan January 15, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Thanks for this excellent country-wide analysis – it is exactly the type of information needed to inform good policy responses to the drought. Australian NGOs should now do more to raise awareness of the issue. The more detailed brief was also excellent. It also included some possible budgetary implications. Using the figures in the brief, it appears that the possible costs of a relief package were estimated at about K1.75 per person per day for food (460g of rice and tuna), and around an average of K9.20 air freight costs per person per day for moving this food to the required remote locations (this figure for in-country transport costs to remote locations is consistent with costs we used when I headed AusAID’s humanitarian program area that delivered food around the world, although less than the helicopter based costs in the early days responding to the East Timor crisis). For 120 days for the 6 LLGs with a population of 116,000 you mentioned in the brief, the food cost would be K24m. The freight costs could well be another K128m. Three implications. First, allowing up to K2m per district from DSIP funds is clearly inadequate for those areas most affected – especially as the most affected LLGs are often in the same district. This is a national problem and a nation program should be the response. Second, drought relief is very expensive. Current national allocations (K25m) will not come close to meeting likely costs. Finally, and this is the really difficult public policy issue for PNG, given expenditure constraints, how much should be allocated to dealing with this human catastrophe relative to other challenges facing PNG (for example, funding disease resistant TB)?

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