Lucky to be alive

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday November 8th, 2013


A FATHER has told of how he sensed impending danger last Saturday before a landslide struck and alerted his family about it – a decision that saved their lives.

On Saturday evening, they kept watch and refused to go to sleep. At around 10pm, they heard a loud noise up in the mountain. They immediately ran out of their home minutes before it was buried under the landslide.

Dad Harry Karapa yesterday said at the site of the massive landslide in Daulo, Eastern Highlands, they were lucky to be alive. As he watched workers begin digging and clearing the debris to look for people still buried there, he spoke of how his strong belief in the Almighty saved his family.

He told of how on Saturday morning he noticed a change in how water was flowing down from the mountain near his home.

“When the water looked different from other days, and behaved like the big rivers, there is disaster looming,” he said. Karapa said he immediately warned his family he could sense danger and told them to be on the alert.

“I warned my wife Kitanu and my children that I sensed disaster,” he said.

“I told my family that if they heard any unusual noise, they must leave the house and move to safer ground.”

He said at around 10pm on Saturday, they had heard loud noises of rocks rolling down from the mountain.

“As I had already warned my family members, they were on full alert. So we all rushed out of our house,” he said.

“We watched helplessly as the landslide came down, covering our home and vehicles. 

“Most of our neighbours were buried with their homes and properties.

“It was a very sad moment to see this.”

The family of six, including the parents, were all safe but lost all that they owned. 

The family owns the Wasan Bottle Shop, a 15-seater bus and another vehicle.

“We are only left with what we were wearing,” Karapa said.

Bare Wapo, whose niece, Mondu Dasty, is one of the two Grade Four students still missing, said he was glad the search for the missing people had begun. 

The search was held up by landowners who wanted the Government to meet a list of demands. 

That was resolved after talks with Lands Minister Benny Allan on Wednesday. 

Wapo said the families of the missing people were starting to get worried by the delay and lack of action by authorities.

“If there was going to be further delay, I was going to get permission from the police and PNG Defence Force on the site to start digging and look for my niece. 

However, work has begun so we are OK now,” Wapo said.