By ELIAS LARI
THREE bodies have been recovered while the search continues for others who went missing after floodwaters swept through a village in Western Highlands on Monday afternoon.
Villagers of Marapana in the Mul-Baiyer district living along the Kuma River were caught off-guard when it broke its banks after heavy rain.
Village leaders Angra Pulga, Andrew Wan and Doimbri Dum, and village magistrate Wani Rumints described it as “unusual” and “unbelievable” because the river was relatively small, compared to the Jiwaka River and Waghi River.
One of the three bodies found was of Bum Piam, an old man from the Nenga tribe of Hagen village who was inside his home when it was swept away.
The other two were of children, one of them a Grade Eight girl.
Pulga also told of how he managed to flee from a home just before it was swept away.
“I was facing the river but somehow the flood came from my back. I ran uphill and saw the house swept away a few minutes later. I could be a dead person now if I did not run uphill. God saved me from that flood,” Pulga said.
Two bridges used by children to go to school were also washed away.
“The bridges that we use to travel to Mt Hagen and for children to cross to go to school were swept away,” Wan said.
Western Highlands provincial disaster coordinator Robin Yakamb and Mul-Baiyer District Development Authority deputy chief executive officer Robert Rumba were at the village yesterday to survey the damage.
The people affected are from the Nenga and Muntika tribes living in Kwip 1, Kwip 2, Balk 1 and Marapana. Yakamb said two excavators also went missing in the flood.