The National , Wednesday, June 1, 2011
RESPONSE to a natural disaster within 24 hours is crucial in the region to save lives, Minister assisting the Prime Minister Patrick Pruaitch said during the Kumul disaster appeal dinner last Friday.
He said quick response was the way forward to save lives and that could only be possible through government working hand in hand with the private sector, development partners, churches, non-governmental organisations and the people.
Pruaitch, who had experienced natural disasters in his Aitape-Lumi electorate, said that in any natural disaster, the immediate response was to seek help which could save many lives.
Pruaitch also recounted the tsunami at Aitape following a 7.1 magnitude earthquake recorded at 6.49pm on July 17, 1998.
The tsunami left more than 2,200 people dead and thousands injured and homeless.
It was the third tsunami that hit the west coast of Aitape – the first in 1907 which created the Sissano Lagoon followed by a second in 1935.
He said the 1998 tsunami was the second biggest national calamity, surpassed by the Mt Lamington eruption in Northern in 1953 which killed 4,000 people.
However, Pruaitch said that the overall response to the tsunami by the government was not as fast as it should be.
He said due to the lack of available funding, the Rabaul twin volcanic eruptions on Sept 19, 1994, and the Aitape tsunami were not attended to quickly enough within 24 hours.
Pruaitch said this was where Kumul disaster relief appeal (KDRA) comes in handy – to foster fund raising partnership programmes.
He said the KDRA would be better driven by the PNG Vision 2050.