Settlers want walls along Waghi River

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 5th January 2012

SETTLERS from other highlands provinces living along banks of the Waghi River have called on the government to build stone walls.
The settlers, in the Kindeng and Kondopina areas, had often being affected by floods and rising waters and hoped that the stone walls would stop the floodwaters from destroying their properties.
During continuous rain, the Waghi River had often burst its banks and destroyed their properties.
The settlers from Eastern Highlands, Chimbu, Enga and Southern Highlands gathered near the Waghi Bridge yesterday morning. On Monday night, the river had flooded and caused massive damages to their properties.
Houses, two church buildings, an adult literacy school, food crops, coffee gardens and other properties were destroyed.
Settlers’ spokesman Gabriel Nolai said Monday’s flood was similar to the one they had in 2009 that destroyed all their properties. Affected settlers had to move into a care centre.
He said all their kaukau gardens had been destroyed and they needed immediate relief food supplies.
Mond Rengi, chairman of the Kondopina Waghi Flood Vegies Cooperative Society, said the 25 farmers who took out a loan from the National Development Bank last year had been hit.
He said each of the farmers received K1,000 to start their vegetable farms.
Rengi said the farmers managed to harvest their produce last year and sell them to big catering companies in mining provinces and super markets in Port Moresby.
He said the new crops that they planted were destroyed by the floodwaters early on Monday.
He said the cash crops, worth about K300,000 belonging to the cooperative society, were also destroyed.