Highway reopens

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday November 8th, 2013


THE landslide-affected section of the Highlands Highway at Barano,  in Daulo district, Eastern Highlands, has been re-opened to traffic.

However, the road will be closed at 8am tomorrow to allow rescuers to search for eight people believed to have been buried under the debris when the landslide occurred last Saturday night.

The road was cleared yesterday after Works Minister Francis Awesa intervened in the dispute by villagers, which had hampered restoration work since Monday.

The villagers had demanded that the Government pays K6 million in compensation for lives and properties lost in the disaster.

Awesa, who travelled to the site early yesterday morning, said from Goroka that he had assured the villagers that the Government would consider and respond to their grievances.

He discussed with Eastern Highlands Governor Julie Soso the restoration work and relief assistance for the affected villagers.

Awesa said his department had allocated K100,000 to assist the villagers.

He said Prime Minister Peter O’Neill provided K100,000 through the National Disaster Centre for relief assistance.

Eastern Highlands provincial police commander Supt John Kale and his Chimbu counterpart Supt Augustine Wampe appealed to the local people not to take advantage of the situation to cause law and order problems.

Kale issued a warning to people living along the Daulo Pass and Chuave sections of the highway, which were prone to landslides during the wet season, to take precautionary measures to protect their lives and properties.

Barano landslide working committee deputy chairman Kamsy Kiagi said they had not found any of the missing people.

PNG Defence Force soldiers and police units from Watabung, Asaro and Chuave were monitoring the rescue exercise yesterday and will continue today.