Then National, Wednesday 12th September, 2012
ACTING Prime Minister Leo Dion yesterday extended his sympathies to the people of Hela and the Southern Highlands provinces affected by flooding and landslips.
Speaking on behalf of the government, Dion said it was again unfortunate that many people, especially from the eastern part of Southern Highlands and Hela, had been affected and displaced by floods that had completely cut them off from vital government and private sector services.
After being briefed by Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc and the provincial and local government affairs secretary Munare Uyassi, Dion directed a team of government officers to the affected areas and that funding be released as soon as possible for this purpose.
He asked for a first-hand report from officers on the ground and directed that a team of officers from lead government agencies be dispatched with the funding for immediate assistance.
“The government is aware of the peoples’ devastation by heavy rain in the past two weeks, causing serious damage in the area, more particularly in the Kagua-Erave and Ialibu-Pangia districts,” Dion said.
“I have directed the immediate release of K3 million to ensure alternate road access is restored as soon as possible. K500,000 is also available to assist with emergency relief on assessment by the provincial disaster committee,” he said.
Dion said a team from the Southern Highlands provincial administration was out in the field to put together a detailed report of damage to enable humanitarian relief.
He said he would be holding an urgent Cabinet meeting to discuss the detailed situation report to determine what further help the government could provide.
In the meantime, he has authorised for immediate contact to be established with Madang and Gulf provincial authorities to ascertain their local responses to the Manam relocation and Gulf floods respectively and to mobilise national government support, where necessary.