State funds emergency relief

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The National, Tuesday November 5th, 2013

 A TEAM of engineers from the Defence Force is working with Works Department officers to clear the landslide at Watabung, Eastern Highlands, and assist families affected by it.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the Government was doing all it could to help the people. 

The National Disaster and Emergency Service transferred an initial K100,000 to the Daulo District Treasury account for emergency relief supplies to be delivered to the affected people. Eight people are reported missing while a body was recovered on Sunday. 

The landslide that happened around 10pm on Saturday cut off the Highlands Highway.

O’Neill said he was sad that disaster had again struck the landslip-prone area, claiming lives, destroying food gardens and displacing villagers living there.

“I want to assure the people affected that the Government is with you and is doing everything possible to restore normalcy,” he said in a statement. 

He directed Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc to intervene immediately.

Sir Manasupe said a team of Defence Force engineers were at the disaster area to assess the situation and secure the area.

Works department officials had arrived and were working with the army engineers on how best to deal with the situation.

He said because as many as eight bodies might be under the debris, the team would work with care in their restoration work. Daulo MP Ron Ganarafo met Sir Manasupe yesterday morning to be briefed on what the Government was doing.

Works Minister Francis Awesa said the section of the Highlands Highway affected by the landslip would be cleared soon. 

He appealed to the relatives of the victims to work with the team on site.