The National, Monday, May 9, 2011
By JEFFREY ELAPA
CYCLONE Guba-devastated Northern is yet to see the restoration of basic services, locals say.
The National also visited the province over the weekend for the opening of a primary school library in Sohe, and gathered comments from locals that there was nothing to show for the millions of kina given by the government, donors and kind hearted people.
Many people said the money was to have been used to redevelop basic infrastructure and relocate people and homes.
They said devastation from the Nov 15, 2007, cyclone was widespread as rivers in the area caused flooding and destroyed food gardens, homes, bridges and roads and caused a few deaths.
They said they had heard of millions of kina being allocated for restoration programmes but they had yet to see the result of any of that money supposedly directed their way.
Ward 11 councillor of the Kokoda local level government Dickson Suma said since the disaster washed away bridges, they had not been repaired, forcing people to cross the river.
He said that was particularly risky when rivers were flooded.
He said K1.7 million each was allocated to the different LLG areas in the disaster-stricken areas and each ward was advised to prepare development plans.
He said as advised, the 24 council wards in Kokoda and other council wards in the province submitted their plans “but to date, they have not received any information about the funds for the projects”.
“We do not know where the funds have been used and we have never been told when they will start to implement the project as submitted.
“We have only seen few changes in the food security aspect of the restoration but what about roads, schools, health services and most importantly the bridges,” Suma said.
He said people were struggling and had to walk long distances with their cocoa and coffee while oil palm fruit rotted in places where the road and the bridges had been washed away.
Suma said authorities needed to explain what had happened to the money as three years had lapsed since the cyclone struck.