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Honiara, Solomon Islands – The Virgin Coconut Oil Producers Association (VCOPA) is concerned with rising food costs following three days of rioting in Solomon Islands capital of Honiara.
While the Association have welcomed the presence of police and defence personnel from Australia and Papua New Guinea, it says “the situation is still volatile and the future remains uncertain in the coming days.”
With shops burnt down and services shut, the concern for many members of VCOPA lies with communities who already struggle with access to clean water, food and sanitation.
Secretary Maryjane Hou Kaikari said the impacts of the riots would affect aid around the country :
“The looting and burning has severely affected alot of people and we are now seeing price increase in the cost of food.”
“A lot of our major wholesalers are being burnt down or looted, people are struggling to ration whatever little they have and it will be even worse in the coming weeks and months.”
She said while a motion of no confidence has been filed against the Prime Minister, speculation is rife the situation will go from bad to worse “if the Prime Minister is not overthrown through the parliamentary process, there’s a lot of fear that things will get worse as there are still a lot of guns around.”
Although many businesses remain close during this time, work for members of VCOPA have resumed to meet market orders before closing in mid-December for the holidays and reopening in early January.