Disaster restoration team received K70m: Hamblin

K70 million has been received so far by the Emergency Disaster Restoration Team for the earthquake stricken provinces, says Emergency Controller, Dr Bill Hamblin.

The head of the Emergency Disaster Restoration Team said they have sent solar lights and re-starter kits, among others, up to Western, Gulf, Sandaun’s Telefomin, Southern Highlands and Hela provinces.

The state of emergency that was declared after the February 26 earthquake saw K450 million allocated for next three years into the areas affected.

The second state of emergency that was declared following the June 14 mayhem saw K6 million allocated for the Southern Highlands Province, which will be sourced from the Prime Minister’s Department and the Department of Finance.

“We received K70 million in total so far (first state of emergency funds). I’ve asked for additional funds because we need more to continue.  

“We’re also, with the PM’s endorsement, looking at getting the secondary schools in Hela back to operation fast as possible.

“We can’t afford to lose all those year 12 students, so we’ve put a team in the field already to look at that,” he said.

Dr Hamblin, in giving an update of the funds from the first Emergency Disaster Restoration Team, said 300 tons of supplies will be going to Gulf, Western and Telefomin via Kikori and Kiunga.

“One to Kikori and one up to Kiunga, that way we concentrate on the North Fly areas and Middle Fly where we go there is Dodomona and Idumari, places which are badly affected.

“We are flying in a portable aid post, which is the size of a 44 foot container in Dodomona to improve the situation there with maternity beds and other things attached, that’s a major logistical exercise and costly that needs to be done,” he said.

With the support of the Asian Development Bank, the team has ordered 500 water tanks for Western and Gulf.

“We’ve got another 50 tanks going to Southern Highlands and Hela and an extra 100 in Hela being bought from Atlas Steel. So we’re really getting into the recovery stage, really getting those water tanks all over the place,” Dr Hamblin added.

7,500 solar lights with chargers have also been distributed.

“We’ve provided K1.4 million to the Tari hospital for x-ray equipment and drugs plus others needed.

“We’ve also put in half a million in for the x-ray machine for Mendi hospital,” he added.

“So we’re involved in health, water supplies, re-starter kits, we’re sending in kits that have shovels, digging forks, saws, nails, hammock, jerry cans, seeds etc. to restart their lives.

“We’ve got tender supply services to put up two temporary buildings in Tari and in Mendi to house the public servants, and put them back to work because they are scattered everywhere at the moment.

“We need them in one place where they can be managed,” Dr Hamblin added.

(Emergency Controller, Dr Bill Hamblin)

Sally Pokiton