The National, Friday 10th May 2013
By JAMES APA GUMUNO
MORE than 60,000 people living in the Mendi district, Southern Highlands, have been badly affected by heavy rain and floods since last week.
Continuous rain caused four rivers in the district to burst their banks and wash away two Bailey bridges, nine foot bridges and destroyed food gardens and livestock such as sheep and goats.
District administrator James Embiap said yesterday that it was the worst natural disaster in the district.
He said that fortunately no lives were lost as the people lived away from the river banks.
Embiap said continuous raining caused the Mendi, Lai, Magani and Watul rivers to flood and cause large-scale damage to the district.
He said the foot bridges at Komp, Kespem, Alop and Waranda in the Munhui local level government area were washed away by the floods.
Foot bridges at Hupip, Mopa, Mulip, Neneporger and Hulpiam in Upper Mendi were also destroyed.
Embiap said the two Bailey bridges that were washed away connected Semp village in Upper Mendi to Nene village in the Karans area and Intenda to Tente village.
He added that school children have not attended school since last week.
“There is a big fear in the district that not long people will die of starvation because majority of them make gardens along the river banks where the soil is fertile and rich in nutrients,” he said.
Embiap said the provincial disaster office was assisting them with a helicopter to carry out an assessment of the affected areas.
He said they were also facing difficulties in transporting medical supplies to health centres and aid posts at Semp, Kombal, Pigrip, Kip, Tiwa, Inzep, Imilhoina and Wariba.
He said these health facilities were located in the affected zones where bridges washed away.
Embiap said a preliminary report had been sent to government authorities to consider relief assistance.