Bulolo woman swept away by floodwaters

Lae News, Normal

The National, Tuesday 24th January 2012

A WOMAN is missing after being washed away by flood waters as heavy rain wreak havoc in Bulolo district, Morobe.
The flooding caused chaos in Bulolo town and its surrounding settlements, destroying homes, bridges and roads.
Acting district administrator Tai Gwambelek said the woman, Sendawe Gumbet from Baini village, was swept away by the Baini river.
Gumbet, a widow, was returning from the garden carrying a bilum of fresh food when she slipped and fell into the river. 
Search parties are yet to find her, Gwambelek said.
The only bridge at Pine Top that links Bulolo and Wau Township was washed away last Sunday, leaving businesses, government services and people in dire straits.
The river then washed away a portion of the road between Pine Top Bridge and the airport.
Services to mining companies like Morobe Mining Joint Venture, Newcrest and Niuminco and the Mineral Resource Authority’s Small Scale Mining institution, trade store owners, alluvial miners, coffee growers, public servants, churches, schools and health services are totally cut off.
The flood caused havoc to Karanas, Banana, Madang, Buang and Finschhafen settlements, destroying houses and washing away food gardens and livestock.
At Namba 8, the river washed away the new K46,000 footbridge opened last month by Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah and National Planning and Monitoring Minister and local MP Sam Basil.
A portion of road at Namba 8 was washed away, with only light vehicles able to cross there.
The number of affected families, homes and damaged properties are yet to be verified as people are still moving to safer areas.
Gwambelek said Morobe Mining Joint Venture, PNG Forest Products disaster and emergency workers and district officials were assessing the damage.
“The flood in Bulolo township coupled with Kumalu and Buang river has left the district in a critical situation that requires immediate attention from the provincial and national disaster and emergency,” he said.
He urge drivers and commuters on the highway to be careful as parts of the road had gotten worse with potholes and pools created by the flooded creeks and rivers. 
The district will experience more rain in the coming months and Gwambelek urged people from the rural sectors of the six local level areas to be careful when going about their daily chores.