Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gera Landslide

Hello friends. Sorry it has been so long since we wrote on this. Life is ever busy. One big item of news, a landslide in the town of Gera on the major freeway between here and the coast is causing chaos for people in this region. We are fine, having time and money to stock up on supplies. Many local people have not been so fourtunate.

The following report was in a local newspaper…

" Papua New Guinea ministers are calling for a state of emergency to be declared after a massive landslide in the Highlands region caused chaos for four provinces. The PNG government has declared a natural disaster zone on the Okuk Highway, at Gera, outside Kundiawa town in Chimbu Province in PNG's Highland region, where businesses have begun controlling food and fuel distribution as panic buying sweeps the region.

Thousands of people directly and hundreds of thousands indirectly are suffering in the regions, PNG officials said. Hospitals in the Enga, Chimbu, Eastern and Southern Highlands Provinces now fear vital oxygen and other gas supplies will run out within days. Enga Province's, Mt Hagen Hospital Medical Services Director Dr Michael Dokup said lives were at risk as every hospital in the region was affected by the landslip. "It's not good, all hospitals are feeling the pinch," he said. "Our gas supplier told us they have run out of oxygen. "We've got enough gas for two more days, and our fuel is gone down too," he said. "We've told all surgeons to only conduct emergency procedures," he said.

The weekend landslide was triggered by rain and falling limestone which caused a large volume of soil to crash down and cover 150 metres of highway. PNG Transport Minister Don Poyle surveyed the destruction that displaced 3000 people and crushed 80 homes and gardens.

Electricity and the supply of other essentials have been cut off along the Highlands' main transport line, he said. "It's a big mess and difficult because the earth is still moving and the area is very unstable," he said. Polye said a team of experts had flown up to examine the area while an alternative road for light vehicles was being re-opened.

"We need a state of emergency because it affects four provinces, mining and oil fields," he said. "Thousands of people are hurting, but the whole region is suffering due to the landslide," he said. Authorities believe it will take a month before the road is passable again. Landowners and regional representatives have attacked the PNG government for ignoring their past concerns over three previous landslides in the area. "

Thanks Derrick Buntrock for the pictures.


At 11:07 AM, Blogger geoff and sherry said...

wow. what a mess and so sad about all the people who lost their homes. hope you guys are keeping alright and can wait it out till the road is rebuilt.
much love,


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