Dr Fong on food program

Members of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Ramesio Bale Wairiki and Sailosi Waqa sorting through food supplies to be distributed to families along the Suva-Nausori lockdown area. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

THE food distribution program provided for the Suva-Nausori lockdown zone was not made available to the Western Division because the West was not locked down.

This was the explanation provided by Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong at a news conference on Sunday night.

He was responding to media queries about the 161 food hotline and complaints from people in the Western Division about the difficulties many were facing in feeding their families.

“The reason we did the food distribution program was because of the lockdown – lockdown meant no supermarkets open, that’s the reason why,” Dr Fong said.

“Because basic food items were going to be inaccessible – that’s why we did it.

“It’s not a means to reach poverty or – not a poverty alleviation program, it’s a lockdown program.

“The issue you are talking about is a separate one, it requires a broader set of strategies that are not within the ambit of the Ministry of Health.”

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