The National, Tuesday 18th September, 2012
THE National Executive Council has approved K13 million in emergency spending to restore roads and bridges that were washed away by floods in the Southern Highlands province.
Acting Prime Minister Leo Dion said Cabinet had further approved K500,000 for immediate humanitarian relief assistance to the affected people.
Dion said NEC met last Thursday and approved a total of K13,400,000 for restoration programme, an additional K500,000 for humanitarian relief assistance while the provincial government approved K300,000 to assist in the relief efforts.
Dion said due to continuous rain over the past weeks, bridges and roads in many parts of the province had been washed away, cutting people off from vital government services.
He said the government has directed the Works Department in Mendi to immediately identify and implement permanent solutions to the affected road sections and bridges.
The bridges that were washed away include Yalo River Bridge between the border of Kagua-Erave and Ialibu-Pangia, Kendagl Bridge along Kumbame to Ialibu provincial road, Pale Bridge along the Kirene Yarena road and Mapel Bridge in the Iombi area of Imbonggu district.
Kumbame landslide was one of the major disasters experienced along the main Highlands Highway and another slip was recorded at Ipiye village along Mendi-Kagua road which blocked off both roads but was restored immediately by the Mendi Provincial Works Department.
Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc, who flew to the disaster-stricken areas, said: “On behalf of the government of Papua New Guinea, I share heartfelt sympathy to you all for losing the life and vital infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
“I know many of you are displaced and I am here to see for myself and to feel the same pain with you. I see the situation you are in now and assure you that we, as a government, have taken immediate actions to restore the situation,” he said.
Zurenuoc also visited the Mendi Provincial Works team and directed them to facilitate immediate arrangements to restore the situation.
He also directed that foot bridges be built immediately at the areas where the bridges were washed away so that people could cross the rivers while the construction of main bridges were underway.
He said the Kagua-Mendi road link would also be opened so that people of Kagua-Erave could use it while the 40m Wara Yalo Bridge was under construction.