K90,000 to upgrade long-neglected airstrip

A K90,000 cheque was presented to the Rural Airstrip Agency by the Member for Sohe.

MP John Amuli said fixing all the airstrips in the districts is currently his number one priority.

The presentation was done yesterday (Aug 8) in Port Moresby by Amuli to Rural Airstrip Agency’s government liaison officer, Winsome Nenewa.

“We released the first K90,000 to the Rural Airstrip Agency for Ioma Airstrip,” stated Amuli.

“After Ioma Airstrip will be Asimba Airstrip followed by Tetebedi, Kira and Emo.”

Yoma Airstrip is in the sub-district of Tamata. The last time a commercial flight landed on that airstrip was 20 years ago.

“Tamata is one of the sub-districts in Sohe and the only access into the whole Tamata is only by dinghy, air and foot. Air services have been closed for almost 20 years now and they’ve been using dinghies and (going) by foot.

“When I visited the area last year, the community, they asked for the airstrips to be opened.”

Amuli says his administration is putting priority on fixing the main airstrips in the district because that is what the people want.

He said while the airstrips will greatly assist the local people, he hopes it will encourage public servants who work in the districts to return. 

Because of transportation difficulties, most public servants have left the district and are in Popondetta, Northern Province.

“The airstrip will benefit my people and especially the public servants,” reiterated Amuli.

“Most of them have left Ioma government station and living in Popondetta Town and I want them to go back to the sub-district, Ioma, and serve the people from there and not from Popondetta Town.

Meantime, Nenewa said with the funding assistance, they will commence surveying to determine the type of restoration work needed.

She said they hope they can commence surveying in September.

(Sohe MP John Amuli, left, Rural Airstrip Agency’s government liaison officer, Winsome Nenewa)

Charmaine Poriambep