People await relief supplies


LENGTHY government processes have delayed relief, funding and fuel supply to the flood affected people in the Kote LLG in Finschhafen, president Harry Umbingke says.
Parts of Kote, one of six LLGs in Finschhafen, were ravaged by floods and landslides last month following heavy rains.
Seven bridges were washed away and a number of villages had homes and food gardens damaged.
Umbingke told The National last week that his people have been waiting for almost a month for relief supplies and fuel drums to reach them.
Morobe Governor Kelly Naru, provincial disaster manager Charlie Masange and provincial works manager Charley Sindang visited the area immediately after the disaster last month and promised relief assistance to the affected people.
“I was in Lae for three weeks following up on the commitment made by government officials and the governor,” Umbingke said.
“They committed 30 drums of fuel and food rations so I have followed up on that.”
“They told me that the 30 drums of fuel were ready but I am still waiting for the shipment,” Umbingke said.
“For the food, the disaster manager told me that his officers will check up and release it.”
“But, I feel that it has taken a long time and my people on the ground are suffering because no food has reached them and the road is still inaccessible.”
“We are still waiting for the mobilisation funds the provincial government has promised to give us,” he said.
Umbingke said his team had used their own funds to buy fuel for the machines and created a wet bypass at the Shong River for vehicle to cross whilst waiting for assistance to arrive.
He said the bypass was only accessible during dry weather.
Umbingke said he has enquired about the delay in releasing emergency funds to assist his LLG but the provincial treasury told him that they have to follow the proper processes before releasing funds to him.
“Our case is a disaster so we need the money, fuel and rations quickly,” he said.
“This is very genuine case. People are hungry, sick and are at risk of dying.”

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