Desperate villagers enter ‘suicide’ hole for water

Islands, Normal

The National – Tuesday, February 1, 2011

THE prolonged dry season throughout Gazelle Peninsula in East New Britain has caused people to search for water everywhere.
At Navunaram Village people have been flocking to a new water hole that was discovered just two months ago during the dry season.
The water hole is located in the middle of tunnel assumed by locals to have been used by the Japanese soldiers during World War II.
The water hole is situated on a piece of land belonging to village elder Kepas Tirupia.
All other springs, creeks and water holes in the village have since dried up, making life difficult for villagers.
To get water, one has to pay for a water container, a 40 gallon drum or other water holders.
For workers, they have been able to afford to pay for water for their families to use for cooking, drinking and washing.
The new water hole has been named ‘suicide’ by the locals because of the geographic difficulty one has to overcome to fetch water.
The entrance into the tunnel is quite small and one has to crawl in about five metres before reaching the open space within.
Once inside, the inner area around the where the water is springing up from is enough to cater for up to 15 people.
People have to take turns filling up their containers which can take between two to three minutes.
This, according to the locals, is very fast and gives them enough time to fetch all their water bottles.
Nelson Lagar, a local, said with the new water hole, life has become a little easier for a lot of families in the village.
He said they do not have to travel long distances to fetch water nor pay a lot.
Lagar said the water had not been tested by experts but the people could not wait for tests to be conducted before using it.
“We need water and we cannot sit around waiting for help to come,” Lagar said.
Tirupia, in agreeing with Lagar, said a lot of people had used the water for drinking, cooking and washing, adding so far there have not been any signs of health concerns.
He is appealing to community leaders and the local MP to assist in making the place a bit safer for the people to access.