The National, Friday 27th January 2012
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
CABINET meets today to work out how best to assist families affected by the massive landslide in Southern Highlands which has claimed lives.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said Nagoli village in Hela was still in a state of shock following the devastating landslide on Tuesday morning.
He assured the people that the government would work closely with village leaders and the developers in the area to retrieve the bodies and assist in any other way they could.
“I am deeply saddened to see this disaster which has taken away so many lives,’’ he said.
“I have never seen such a disaster anywhere in PNG and I express my condolence to everyone who has lost a loved one.”
Cabinet will hold an emergency meeting today to deal with the landslide disaster.
“My government stands ready to work with the developer of the LNG project and the local leaders to come up with plans to retrieve the bodies, relocate our people near the disaster area and help those who have lost their properties,” he said.
The total cost of disaster is yet to be determined.
But a government team is expected to assess the damage.
O’Neill urged the people of Nogoli to cooperate with government workers and the developers.
An independent investigation team will be appointed to look into the cause of the disaster.
“I am appealing to each and every one of you not to come up with all sorts of stories on how the landslip occurred but await the investigation team assessment report,” he said.
Meanwhile, O’Neill yesterday accused Sir Michael Somare of not caring about the people dying in the Southern Highlands landslide.
He also accused the Grand Chief of inciting the mutiny at Murray Barracks yesterday.
“When people are dying Sir Michael Somare does not care,” O’Neill said.
He deferred a Cabinet meeting that was to address the landslide in Southern Highlands because of the situation created by the soldiers at Murray Barracks yesterday.