People cry for food

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 06th of March, 2014

COMMUNITIES in Kome local council in Menyamya, Morobe, are suffering from hunger and an outbreak of  diseases after being severely hit by landslips from continuous rains.
Fresh food gardens and farm animals on which the villagers were depending for food were washed away, as were roads and bridges that allowed access to basic services, trade stores and coffee businesses.
Six days’ downpour caused 560 landslips that affected the Jipa, Menye, Hengiyapa, Hengati, Tsewi and Umba communities.
Kome LLG manager Peto Kaldagaso and president Jeffery Tobias said the cost of the damage was estimated at K3.25 million.
The Kome LLG allocated K40,000 but the unavailability of district treasury printing machine delayed the cheque processing.
“It will cost K1 million to maintain road from Menyamya station to Umba, Concordia to Tsewi K500,000 and Jipa to Menye K250,000,” Kaldagaso said.
Six primary and 15 elementary schools and six aid posts were badly affected, with Yinimba Elementary closed indefinitely. More than 150 children are at home, as a result.
At Yinimba 1,327 people have been affected. That included the nearby Vava, Kwanimba and Vanukwe villages.
“The disaster occurred from Feb 9-14 but the disaster unit did not respond; instead we were advised to collate and provide assessment reports and they were completed and distributed to the authorities,” Kaldagaso said.
“Meanwhile, outbreak of waterborne diseases like dysentery, diarrhoea, typhoid, flu, muscle sprain and malaria have infected many people.”
Kaldagaso said two health officers, Samson Sakaneh and wife Roselyn, were engaged in affected areas but fell victims to diseases and replaced by two other health workers.
Total patients treated were at the health post were 603. Patient numbers keep increasing and the medical supplies and food supplies running out.
Tobias said most coffee gardens on which people relied for cash were badly damaged.
“We requested K3.5 million from national and provincial governments because that is how much we invested into government coffers through production of organic coffee.”
LLG officers and CARE International (PNG) have conducted awareness for people to take proactive measures against possible landslips.