Locals puzzled by sinkhole

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 10th November 2011

TORE-SURE villagers in North Bougainville are baffled by a 20-meter wide trench that is two meters deep and gradually expanding through the valley at the base of Mt Takania where the village is.
Bougainville disaster coordinator Franklyn Lacey said local chiefs, concerned about their people’s safety, sought his help to determine the cause of the sinking soil.
He said the sinking soil phenomena began in 2009.
And it has affected a wide area including coffee and cocoa plantations, he said.
Lacey refused to speculate on the cause of the sinking soil but confirmed that there was no evidence of fumes emitting from the ground and there was no unusual smell in the area.
He said soil samples from the village will be sent to the Rabaul Volcano Observatory next week for analysis.
He said the chiefs were keenly awaiting the results from the laboratory tests as they planned to relocate the bulk of the Tore-Sure population from their current settlement along the coast of Tinputz back to the base of Mt Takania.
“These people originally lived at the base of Mt Takania but during the German administration, they were relocated to the coastal area for census reasons.
“These people of more than 600 now want to return to their land but fear settling in their village which they see is sinking,” said Lacey.
He said laboratory results from the RVO would be expected back in December as the laboratory technician was in Australia.