O’Neill assesses damage

National, Normal


FLOODING in Oro province has subsided, leaving collapsed bridges and debris while authorities are assessing the damage caused by heavy rains over the weekend.
The road linking Oro Bay to the provincial capital of Popondetta remains cut off as Girua landowners are demanding the payment of an outstanding amount of K600,000 for the use of their customary land for a passage-way during Cyclone Guba two years ago, before they allow the use of their land.
The town power has three days of fuel supplies remaining and will shut down its operations if no fuel comes through from the wharf at Oro Bay.
The Works Department said it could create a bypass within two days but some form of payment must be made to the landowners demanding the outstanding compensation.
Minister for Works, Transport and Public Service Peter O’Neill and Sohe MP and Vice-Minister for Public Service Anthony Nene, Works secretary Joel Luma and Works Highlands and Northern region manager Brian Alois flew by helicopter into the province yesterday to assess the situation.
They were met by Oro provincial administrator Owen Awaita, administration officials and senior public servants.
Mr O’Neill announced that K2 million had been allocated by the National Government to ensure that basic services reached the people.
Mr Awaita told Mr O’Neill that the immediate need was to build a bypass over the Girua River for food supplies and fuel to reach Popondetta town.
The Works manager in Oro said they had the materials to do the job within two days but the outstanding K600,000 must be paid to the Girua people before the job could be carried out.