Enga households to get disaster help today

The first load of relief supplies was delivered to 14,000 households covering the worst affected victims of disaster in Kandep district, Enga, yesterday.

Enga Provincial frost disaster committee chairman Dr Samson Amean said a total of 8500 bags of rice, noodles and water containers reached Kandep station yesterday afternoon from the Enga capital of Wabag.

He said it had taken longer than expected to deliver the much needed basic food items to the people because of difficulties involved in mobilising resources to transport rations from various venues to the victims.

Dr Amean said Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas, who cancelled the 40th Independence celebrations in his province to concentrate on assisting the worst affected people, will be on the ground today to ensure that the food rations are delivered to the genuine victims.

Dr Amean said government officials including police, defence personnel and local district administrative staff would assist in delivering the food rations starting from Mariant and Wake areas of Kandep before they moved to other affected areas.

He said the worst drought and frost hit areas in Laiagam, Surunki, Ambum, Kompiam, Wabag and Wapenamanda would be served with food rations after Kandep next week.

He said his committee was also planning to provide juice, water containers, sandwiches and biscuits for schools when they returned to classes from the term break next week.

Dr Amean said suspending classes in worst drought affected schools would be the last thing that the Enga Provincial Government planned to do.

“The situation now is worse with both the frost and drought affecting the normal lives of the people. Our main concern is the schools. Most of them (schools) are on the verge of closure but we do not want to see the students being sent home too  soon,” he said.

The total number of people who are affected both by frost and drought is more than 187,000, Dr Amean said.

It was also speculated that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill will visit Kandep and other parts of the Highlands region including his own district of Ialibu-Pangia, Tambul, Upper Mendi, Imbongu and Chimbu today.

However, Dr Samson Amean and Governor Peter Ipatas could not be reached to confirm this.

Pic caption:  A mother and her two children standing on a dried lake in the worst frost hit area of Mariant in Kandep. They will receive their first relief food supplies today.