The National- Thursday, January 20, 2011
By JEFFREY ELAPA
THE Department of Foreign Affairs is yet to receive a full report on the status of PNG citizens living in Brisbane, Australia.
Acting secretary Alexis Maino told The National that his office was still waiting for reports to be compiled by the consul-general in Brisbane, Paul Nerau.
Maino said he had not received updates of how many citizens were affected and what plans were in place to assist them.
Many PNG citizens, mostly children of politicians, business people, judges and chief executives and secretaries, are living and studying in Brisbane but it was not known if they were affected.
Several attempts to contact the Brisbane consulate were unsuccessful.
According to a Radio Australia report, four youngsters from Papua New Guinea managed to get away from the Queensland flood earlier last week.
The three boys and a girl, who were attending a national Christian youth convention on the Gold Coast, and were sent to stay with the Uniting church in the rural Queensland town of Maryborough, were saved by the minister.
The network quoted a church spokesman as saying that, at the time, no one knew that the town would be swept up in the damaging floods while the youths were enjoying themselves.
Another lucky PNG family to have been saved thanked the national flag carrier, Air Niugini, for holding the flight out of Brisbane for them to be evacuated.
The father send an email to The National which read: “On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Air Niugini for delaying the aircraft for seven minutes on Jan 13 at the Brisbane airport so my family could board flight QF379 for Port Moresby.
“We were in a rush to get out of Brisbane due to the recent floods.”
The email said since all major roads were closed, they got on a train bound for the airport but, again, the train stalled midway.
A quick-thinking Queensland railway staff put them on a taxi to the airport 10 minutes after checking closed, but the plane waited and got the family out of Brisbane, father Justin Sarimbu said.