Rescue agency must be formed

Letters, Normal

The National, Wednesday 08th Febuary 2012

watching EMTV last Thursday, I saw the clips of the effects of the Hides 4 landslide.
People were walking around looking helpless.
And then I heard about mv Rabaul Queen sinking off Mo­robe’s coast and felt saddened.
When will the government form a rescue agency that will act within a few hours of a call – whether it is a disaster or SOS?
I am sure that after the landslide and for a day or two afterwards, there could have been some people trapped among the rocks and debris and could be freed if someone had attempted to dig.
But, as we know, nobody did.
As I wrote this letter, tens of young people from the 350 on board the Rabaul Queen would be fighting for their lives in the Solomon Sea – to stay afloat, hoping that help would reach them before tiredness and hunger cripple them.
After 36 years of indepen­dence, when will we have a rescue agency that will act with the necessary logistics, equipment and manpower at first call?
I have no doubt we have capable experts in the PNGDF, police, fire service and National Disaster Centre who could form the core of this rescue agency.
This group must have a budget of its own that does not need NEC approval for it to act.
For a start, I suggest the Falcon jet be sold and the money be used to buy two surveillance planes, some fast boats or helicopters.
And I expect all maritime MPs to be among the first to push this idea forward because every now and then boats capsize in the sea and we are so slow to act.
We cannot sit and pray there would be survivors.
We must go out at first call and rescue our people – whether in the mountains, the sea or anywhere else.
And thanks to those who are already doing that.

Thomas B. Hukahu
Via email