Lord Howe or Ontong Java has been described as an idyllic spot for islanders.
The description given to the islands are of a place where palms tower above traditional homes, coconuts and fish abound and banana and pawpaw are scattered throughout the islands.
The days of the people on the islands are said to be spent fishing, gardening and cooking. Hammocks swing under shady trees while children play on the white sandy beach.
Ontong Java is an outlying Island of Malaita Province, with an entire size of 1,400 km sq. and has only 12 km sq. of land, spread out over hundreds of low-lying Islands.
However, the dawn of COVID-19 brings gloom to the islands.
An influx of people to the village is putting a strain on the islands natural resources and the elders are concerned.
“I can only imagine if the Nation shuts down, where will we be getting our supplies? We cannot eat fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the whole year”, Chief Raphael Kei of Luaniua Island said.
He said Corona Virus is not a threat for the villagers at the moment but their biggest fear is the possible lockdown of the country should there be a confirmed case of Coronavirus.
“The shortage of food here in our islands is a risk for mothers and children who are going to be the victims of this crisis."
Chief Kei said mothers cannot provide a balanced diet for their children since they are faced with scarcity of resources.
“Mothers only have Kakake (taro) and dry fish as their daily food which according to health advice is an unbalanced diet for mothers and children”, Kei said.
He said they cannot live on the same diet for months on end.
Chief Kei said people are starting to complain as their stocks and supplies are starting to run out.
“We shared our food from the gardens with our relatives coming from town”, Chief Kei said.
Kei said government had assisted by distributing food to their island to which they are very happy.
However he said government should also send observers to Lord Howe to assess the flow and distribution of the food and how people can be able to sustain themselves if the country is to go into a total lockdown, due to Covid19.
“I believe government should allocate some of their people to come and asses the food storage and how people can sustain food for the next four months if we are faced with the threat of Covid19."
Kei said from their fears they have started to find ways to get assistance.
“Starting from this year we have been calling out to our leaders. Families here are stressed and they are calling on their families who lived in town to find ways to at least assist them one way or the other”.
In addition Mr Kei said they are concerned that many people in town are being repatriated because of the call made by the Prime Minister.
“Alot of people are being repatriated from the virus due to the call earlier last month and now they are putting pressure on everyone since we are at the stage where we lack food supplies. We try as much to address increase in population. We will have to move to small islands within the atolls”, Chief Kei said.