Rain delays search

Main Stories, National

The National, Thursday November 7th, 2013


HEAVY rain yesterday hampered the search for eight people believed trapped under the debris of the Barano landslide at Daulo, Eastern Highlands.

Search for the missing bodies and highway restoration work started yesterday afternoon by teams from the Goroka Fire Service and the Covec construction company.

However, heavy rain hampered efforts and caused mudslides down the same route of the major landslide last Saturday night. Villagers and teams from the police, defence force, fire service and Covec Construction and officers from the National Disaster and Emergency Services were working around the clock to locate and retrieve the bodies.

Reports from the site said none of the bodies were found as of last night but it was expected that they would be retrieved today.

Relief assistance was expected to be provided to the affected villagers.

Works Minister Francis Awesa is expected to visit the landslide disaster area today.

He was to have travel to the site yesterday but postponed the visit because of the National Executive Council meeting in Port Moresby.

He is expected to address the villagers about their demand for K6 million in compensation for properties and lives lost in the landslide.

Awesa had dispatched a Works Department team to the site on Monday to assist with restoration work with help from the defence force engineering battalion in Lae.

However, Goroka police reported yesterday that the villagers were stopping engineers and workers from getting to the landslide area because the missing bodies were still under the ground.

Highlands divisional police commander Martin Lakari warned the people to move aside and allow restoration work to begin.

Lakari said police would use “reasonable force” to ensure that work was not hindered by the people.