By MALUM NALU and MARJORIE FINKEO
PORT Moresby’s 14-Mile area was flooded after heavy rain and the opening of the reservoir floodgates on Mt Eriama early yesterday morning.
No casualties were reported at press time but there were extensive damage and losses to properties reported in the area.
Among those affected were the Livestock Development Corporation (LDC)’s infrastructure, the Adventure Park, the Philippines government-funded paddy (rice) field and the Sogeri Road.
While National Capital District (NCD) Governor Powes Parkop has alleged that the flash flood was triggered by the opening of floodgates, Eda Ranu’s response and comment were not available.
And, the National Weather Service (NWS) has warned of increased and prolonged rainfall and shower in NCD.
LDC operations manager Steven Yangis told The National that about K500,000 worth of infrastructure was destroyed by the flood in its 14-Mile facility or property.
“This is the third time our property, including the Tiaba abattoir, is hit by floods. In 2009, all property and livestock were lost, last year property were washed away and destroyed. It is the same today.
“After all the maintenance, and the use of K10 million to renovate the abattoir and the station, hundreds of thousands (of Kina) in property are damaged or destroyed,” he added.
Yangis said the abattoir supplied meat to supermarkets in Port Moresby.
“While we are striving to raise the profile of the industry, and with millions of kina invested on livestock as per the Government’s Medium-Term Development Plan (MTDP) and Vision 2050, we face this devastation and havoc.
“Our plans to bring in additional livestock have now come to a halt,” he added.
Yangis called for an investigation into the flooding, and how the dam at Rouna in Sogeri had overflowed, bursting Laloki River banks.
“The flood struck suddenly at a time least expected, when there was not that much heavy and continuous rain. Flood waters just swept away everything at 4am.
“We have lost fencing materials and a new fence, chickens and ducks, and property belonging to our staff and LDC. We have also lost business, as the major abattoir for Port Moresby, big time.
“A new K100,000 water pump was also destroyed, fencing worth K200,000, and others worth up to K500,000.
“My concern is all the money that has been spent to fence this area. We were also expecting 50 head of cattle from Markham Valley.
Parkop said: “The PNG Gardener who manages the park have advised us that the over flow of the water into the park was due to the opening of the reservoir gates on Mt Eriama.
“It was also raining then when the water was released, raising the water level in Sogeri. But all the animals in the park are safe.
“The management will have to improve the floor barrier walls to stop the water.”
Parkop said the NCD Commission would liaise with Eda Ranu to ensure that advance notice be issued whenever the floodgates are opened to release water, affecting villagers.
“It might be a normal process they do when there is heavy rain to reduce flood and overflow of their reservoir. But planning and giving notices will help dwellers, he said.
Housing and Urban Development Minister Justin Tkatchenko told The National that according to the PNG Gardener press statement, “all the animals are safe, including birds”.
“The deer that escaped into the large paddock have all returned to the enclosures. Apart from the perimeter fence that was destroyed, no major damage was reported at the park. Normal business will resume tomorrow.
NWS assisting director Jimmy Gomoga said Papua New Guineans should be prepared for possible thunderstorms nationwide.
“We expect prolonged rainy days in the coming week. The thunderstorms can be quite severe,” he added.
Gomoga said that the Highlands could experience hailstorms towards the weekend as a result of the thunderstorms.
“The rains last week were caused by a sudden shift in the clouds from the east,” he said, adding that Port Moresby would see mostly cloudy weather conditions with light showers and evening rains and thunderstorms.
He said the northern coast and New Guinea Islands region could see increased rains and shower towards the end of the week due to warmer waters (sea surface temperatures) from the north.