Water borne disease outbreak likely

A potential outbreak of diarrhoea and water borne diseases are expected in the aftermath of the earthquake as relief efforts intensify to contain the potential epidemic.

Oil Search Managing Director, Peter Botten, said there is already cases of diarrhoea and other related illnesses due to contaminated water.

He said while efforts are increasing, there remains a dire situation.

Botten said in a media conference on Monday that a potential outbreak could occur due to contaminated water.

 “I think everybody knows there’s a high likelihood that this is happening and I think a response is building through this committee to what will inevitably be some outbreak of diarrhoea and other disorders,” he said.

Currently, impacted communities are seeking medical care in Hela Province.

Oil Search has been delivering medical supplies as well as a dedicated Helicopter flying a doctor to and from communities needing medical assistance.

He said road networks are improving but using helicopters remain the main transport medium to get to affected communities quickly.

Botten said the situation on ground in the earthquake impacted areas still remain in a dire condition.

“I still think it’s pretty dire. People still out in the villages are still traumatised by the event.

“I think if sat through the various earthquakes, not just the first one but the subsequent aftershocks and the major earthquakes.

“ A lot of the people are pretty traumatised and I think they have been weakened physically and challenged mentally since the earthquake happened.

“Their resilience is enormous but there’s only so much you can work through and managed and so I think there is an ongoing s sue out there which we need to manage and manage as a collective,” said Botten.

Oil Search has delivered close to 50 tonnes of relief supplies and materials, with around 10 tonnes containing medical supplies.

Botten thanked partners who have made it possible for them to make over 87 supply drops in the impacted areas since March 3rd.

Cedric Patjole