The National, Wednesday 01st Febuary 2012
By ELIAS LARI
TRADITIONAL landowners of Tumbi quarry in Hides, Hela, where a large portion of the Gigira mountain collapsed and buried a community, are calling for relocation of its four major clans – the Ware, Pepe, Parakua and Imini.
The huge landslide claimed 25 lives and destroyed many homes and property.
Spokesman Hibson Puma called on the government and LNG operator Esso-Highlands to help with the relocation exercise.
Tumbi quarry landowner Chief Yogobo Piwago said he had made relocation requests several times but they had been ignored.
He said he had told the developer to resettle them before working on the quarry.
Piwago said they had been living on the land there for more than 6,000 years and “this landslide is the first of its kind and shocked the people”.
He said an investigation would establish why the rivers Tumbi and Tuku had changed their courses.
Hela historical records showed the mountains named Gigira, Haliago, Ilu, Kepua, Uraga, Be-Dini, Ambua-Kelapo and Tau-Parila had withstood earthquakes, intense rainfall and had never collapsed the way it did last week.
Piwago said the government and the developer needed to do something now to protect the people and property from future destruction.
Leaders condemned the government and developer for using the police mobile squad group in a time of disaster.
They said that was insulting to the families of those who had been affected.
“We are not in war.
“At this time we need clean water, shelter and comfort.
“We do not need high-powered guns and threats,” Piwago said.