Community leader upset with disaster response

A community leader in Tari, Hela Province, has voiced his disappointment in the disaster response, or lack of it, by their provincial government officials.

John Tipa is one of the many victims of the earthquake that struck the Highlands region at 3.44am on Monday (Feb 26).

“I lost everything that’s why I’m very upset with the provincial government employees here, from the deputies to the directors,” Tipa said.

“They have vehicles, they have been resourced; they have to be here on the ground to assist all the victims throughout the province.

“Where are all the public servants?”

Tipa further pointed out that it is the job of the provincial disaster coordinator to take the lead and communicate with the governor and provincial administrator.

He said there have been deaths as well as serious injuries however, the lack of leadership has resulted in a lack of forthcoming information.

“Everyone is lost. We don’t know the number of people who have died in Koroba-Kopiago, Komo-Margarima or even Tari-Pori district, where there have been reports of severe damage,” stated the community leader.

“The provincial disaster coordinator should have been communicating with the National Disaster Centre.”

Meantime, a government delegation, led by the National Disaster Centre Director, Martin Mose, are visiting the impacted highlands provinces to assess the situation there.

It is hoped that confirmed casualty numbers will be released soon.

(John Tipa expressing his disappointment this morning in Tari, Hela Province)

Carmella Gware