By PISAI GUMAR
THE Buang River along the Bulolo Highway has washed away 12 house and destroyed gardens at Patep village in Mumeng, Morobe province yesterday.
And the blame has been placed by villagers on the works being done on the Kumalu River.
The Kumalu River is the faster flowing and bigger of the two tributaries of the Watut River, which flows into the Markham River.
When the Kumalu flooded last Wednesday, it destroyed the road link between Lae, Wau-Bulolo and Menyamya.
Contractors based at the site at Kumalu 2, cleared up gravel and debris.
Villagers said the works “opened the flood gates” as silt and sediment and water from the Kumalu ran into and shut off the smaller Buang River, forcing it to swell and flow back.
The people have now relocated to higher ground.
Kumalu ward councillor Atusamu Osi said yesterday that more than 1,500 people were suffering from food shortages while trying to find shelter.
“They fear the onset of diseases and starvation,” Cr Osi said.
They have appealed to the Works Department to intervene and “solve this civil engineering nightmare”.
Local MP Sam Basil, while presenting 12 micro-coffee machines to the Mumengteng and Kumalu 1 and 2 villages last week, offered the district’s assistance with tools to rebuild their lives.
Mr Basil said it was a natural disaster that was “partially man-made”.