By JIMMY KALEBE
SINCE 1969 when settlers converged from different parts of the country to form the village known today as Yesua in Ward 5 of Wampar local level government in Morobe, the lack of a reliable water supply has been a concern for them.
Many have been invited by the landowners themselves to settle while others were drawn to Yesua because of work, school or other reasons.
They have been over the years relying on wells dug at the side of the main Markham River for fresh water or drawn from the same water sources as landowner villages themselves have.
Time and again, when the population started to increase the demand for this life support resource grew as it become scarce.
Over a decade ago, other groups of people began settling opposite Yesua village at Afisip Zero Block, exerting more pressure on the available clean water sources.
As the number of settlers grew and water became scarce, landowners became concerned over this new trend.
The landowners of Labu Butu villages, especially Pusika where a source of clean water is located, started raising concerns when people residing around Markham Bridge tried to get their water.
Sources say before they used to dig wells at the side of Markham River to get clean water but today they cannot do that as mining activities upstream have posed dangers to human health.
Last December a family from Yesua village was assaulted after they were trying to fetch water from a source at Pusika village.
This led to retaliation from people of Yesua and Afisip Zero Block resulting in nine people sustaining injuries.
However, on a brighter note, Huon Gulf District chief executive officer Moses Wanga announced recently that the district has in its five-year plan provided for the supply of water to communities within the district.
The announcement was made during the econciliation ceremony following a fight among landowners from Pusika village, Labu Butu and those at Yesua village including Afisip Zero Block at Markham Bridge in Ward 5 of Wampar LLG.
Leaders from both sides expressed sympathies and promised that such a situation would not eventuate in the future.
During the ceremony, Wanga told the people from both sides to refrain from discussing the fight and focus on building peace among themselves.
“Today we are here to say sorry to each other for what has happened. Let’s not talk about the problem. It is something the leaders have to talk about,” Wanga said.
He told the people to stand as Ward 5 and strive to bring in development for the entire ward and not to dwell on differences among themselves.
Wanga said Markham Bridge was a mining impact area and with operations in full swing, various services would be delivered, among them clean safe water for the communities concerned.
“You come in here from different origins to form this community. Those migrated, those invited and the original landowners.
“There is also inter-marriage that leads to different people living in here so let us all work together,” Wanga told the people of Pusika, Yesua and Afisip Zero Block.
He further challenged them to refrain from fighting but seek peaceful means to solve issues adding the only problem was attitude and behaviour that needed to be changed.
A community leader from Pusika village, Kingsley Nime said the onus was now on the landowners to work closely with the settlers to bring in services to the settlements and blocks.
He said settlers now must ask before having access to anything that did not belong to them.
Jeffery Clement of Yesua village said landowners have to open up in order to get services into the community.
“After this peace ceremony, landowners and settlers must work hand-in-hand to see that services are delivered to the people in the blocks and settlements,” he said.
The peace ceremony was celebrated with the exchange of cash, garden foodsand a pig.
It marked the end of tensions among settlers and landowners in Ward 5 of Wampar LLG in Huon Gulf district following a fight last month over clean water for drinking and cooking.
By JIMMY KALEBE