The National, Wednesday 19th September 2012
By ELIAS LARI
MORE than 700 Kondopina block holders in Dei district, Western Highlands, lost property, food gardens and homes worth thousands of kina as the Waghi River burst its banks early yesterday morning.
The flood started at around 2am, sweeping away everything in its way.
Most of the people are farmers who have applied for loans to plant food crops. They will now face difficult times as their food crops have been destroyed.
The floodwaters, which were as high as 1m, also entered Kondopina Catholic church and the Kondopina Adult Literacy School.
The block holders affected are from Eastern Highlands, Chimbu and Southern Highlands.
Kondopina-Waghi disaster team chairman Mond Rengi said this was a very big disaster for the people in the area.
“This area alone is prone to flooding because engineers who have been constructing the Kindeng-Kondopina road did not plan the drainage properly and when the Waghi overflows its banks, they are the first people to be affected.
“We started experiencing the flood last Saturday, thinking that it will not cause any more destruction.
“But yesterday was a very different story when homes, the church building, the adult literacy school and food crops were flooded,” Rengi said.
He said after three days, the people affected did not have any more options to find food or shelter.
“The Western Highlands provincial disaster office should immediately come to this area and assess the damage.”
Rengi said in the previous floods, they did not receive much benefit from the national disaster office and other concerned offices.
“Early this year, my area was affected by floods and the provincial disaster office gave the farmers K5,000 while the Office of Climate Change provided us seedlings. And so, I want to thank them for that support,” he said.
“Now the same area is affected and this the worst that we have experienced.
“I do not know how we can get the basic support. We will suffer for many months.”
Rengi also called on the hospitals to help them with medical treatment and supplies.