Health concerns amidst water crisis

Lae News, Normal


LAE’S water and power shortages this week is posing major health concerns for health authorities.
Provincial health adviser Dr Theo Likei said yesterday if water shortage continued, more cases of cholera could be expected.
The ongoing shortage has affected the Angau Memorial Hospital as its blood bank could not operate.
Urban health centres throughout the city also shut their doors.
Throughout the weekend, city residents had tosearch for water.
Some residents at East Taraka decided to take action by breaking pipes open to gain access to water and charging people a fee for a bucket.
Dr Likei said he was worried about how residents would address the situation and feared that many would turn to the rivers and creeks for water.
He said the outbreak task force briefing on Monday was also cancelled due to other urgent meetings.
Dr Likei said it was unlikely that the Morobe Show would go on as planned due to the current situation.
He said he could only give recommendations but the decision to cancel the show would only depend on Health Minister Sasa Zibe.
Dr Likei said he would recommend  that the show be cancelled as the consequences of another outbreak would be too much for the province to handle.
He and members of the Morobe Show committee are to meet at 9.00am tomorrow to discuss the situation.
Mr Zibe is believed to be in the province and would make an announcement once a decision is reached.
The city’s water woes started with the PNG Power disrupting supply so that it could maintain its substation at Taraka where it is upgrading its output to 12MW.
The substation had to be maintained to help the main power station at Milfordhaven supply the city.
The Milfordhaven station was being supported because the Yonki power station had been flooded by heavy rains and had to be cleaned up.
This had caused load shedding within Lae, Madang, Mt Hagen, Goroka, Kundiawa, Gusap and Kainantu.
A public notice was put in the newspapers by PNG Power last Thursday, advising the people of the affected areas that they would experience load shedding.
Morobe administrator Kemas Tomala met with PNG Power and PNG Waterboard on Monday and said afterwards that the Taraka sub-station had to be upgraded for the long run.
When work on the substation started last Thursday, it affected the PNG Waterboard main pump stations at Taraka.
Most suburbs went without water from last Friday night and were still having problems by Monday night.
“Looking at it pragmatically, it is a problem we have to grow through now so that in future, the problems would be minimal,” a PNG Waterboard officer said yesterday.
“It’s a catch-22 situation.”