The National, Friday 24th May 2013
DEPUTY Prime Minister Leo Dion says Papua New Guinea is both blessed and cursed by its vast water resources.
Speaking at the Asia-Pacific water summit in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Monday, he said so much had happened since the first summit in Beppu, Japan, in 2007.
“As cases in point, between September 2011 and January 2012, heavy seasonal rain resulted in widespread flooding in the Oro (Northern) province of our country, where some 11,125 people were affected,” Dion said.
“Prior to this disaster, on December 16, 2008 Papua New Guinea was struck by large sea swells, apparently caused by strong storms, which affected more than eight provinces and displaced roughly 75,000 people.
“In fact, these water-related natural disasters prompted international responses that provided support for the government to address the many social and economic challenges for the country, especially the people directly affected.
“Furthermore, Papua New Guinea has experienced water-related problems and challenges ranging from flooding, tidal waves and management challenges that have far-reaching implications for development of the country.”
Dion said the summit set the stage for cooperation among member countries.
That could be done by embracing the shared fundamental values in providing effective leadership and commitment in enforcing water security and managing water-related disaster challenges, he said.