Continuous rain affects h’lands

National, Normal

The National,Tuesday17 January 2012

CONTINUOUS rain has damaged food gardens and properties in many parts of the Highlands region.
People’s party general secretary Willie Palme, who toured several parts of the Highlands, including Jiwaka, parts of Western Highlands and Chimbu, was shocked to see the damage caused by the latest flooding there.
He said in his recent travel to Mount Hagen city, North and South Waghi of Jiwaka and part of Chimbu by road, he saw the devastation after floods swept through the region.
He said so much damage was inflicted on public infrastructure, including sections of the Highlands Highway, the lifeline for the population there.
He said several sections of the road from the agriculture rich Waghi Valley from Kendeng, Kondopina, Banz, Nondugl and roads into Kerowagi district station had been destroyed by the heavy floods.
Palme said the floods had covered church buildings, schools, health facilities, government outstations and people’s houses.
He said food gardens, including coffee gardens, were under water and destroyed by the floods, with damage estimated to be in the millions of kina.
He said the continued flooding for over a month was a threat to lives as one family travelling in a motor vehicles was washed away as they were crossing a flooded river. Pigs and other domesticated animals had been washed away.
He said he witnessed people living along the Waghi River and other smaller rivers like Tuman, Komun, Pin, Warakar, Kane vacate their homes to seek refuge on higher ground.
Palme said more than 60,000 people had been affected by the latest flood.
“I now call on respective authorities including national and provincial governments, local level governments to urgently intervene to assess the situation and help people severely affected by the impact of the flood.
“If assistance is prolonged than more human lives are going to be in danger and the damage caused will affect the livelihood of the communities,” he said.
He said an outbreak of waterborne diseases such as typhoid, malaria and dengue fever was possible in such times.