The National, Wednesday 15th Febuary 2012
Story by ZACHERY PER
A LOCAL firm has given K10,000 to the 12 University of Goroka (UOG) students who survived the mv Rabaul Queen sea disaster.
Goroka based firm Bintangor Trading managing director Simon Sia handed the cash to the students as he remembered the six students who remain on the list of passengers unaccounted for.
There were 18 UOG students on board the mv Rabaul Queen. The 12 who survived included three girls and nine boys. The six still missing included two girls from Bougainville plus two boys and two girls from West New Britain.
“I felt very sorry after reading about the incident in the newspapers. It will take a long for you to forget about the tragedy,’’ he said.
“It is a very big challenge and it will take each of you one day at a time to come off from it.”
He initially wanted to give the K10,000 to the relief centre in Lae but decided to give it to the students instead.
Sia told the students not to give up and do their best to move on from that traumatic experience.
The money will help the students buy personal belongings they lost at sea.
Student Livingstone Mundawi, one of the 12 who survived the mishap, received the money on behalf of his colleagues and thanked Sia for the help.
He said some of the students planned to take a break from studies for a year to recover from the trauma. They plan to return next year.
University vice-chancellor Dr Gairo Onagi said the firm and the university were part of the big Goroka community.
The university is offering assistance and counseling to the 12 students.
Onagi advised the students to take one year off from studies and return afresh next year. The students are still considering the option.
He is trying to get the disaster management centre in Lae to provide a list of UOG students still missing.
John Litom, the assistant team leader of post-disaster management in West New Britain, said they were visiting education institutions in the highlands to brief them on the incident and bring student survivors.
They are discussing with the institutions how best to deal with the students’ trauma.