Govt urged for immediate support to Western

Western Province Governor, Taboi Awi Yoto, has called on the National Government for immediate assistance as the Province is yet to receive any concrete support since the 7.5 magnitude earthquake last month.

The Governor said initial help through the help of Ok Tedi Limited through assessment and minor relief support has been the only assistance to date.

The Governor said six recommendations have been presented to the National Disaster Coordinating Office.

Governor Yoto said since the earthquake only assessments were done while local support was gathered to assist affected communities, while four health centres were set up.

He said since the announcement of numerous contributions to relief efforts, Western has yet to receive anything official.

“It took the Government 11 days to respond to the disaster which is not good,” said Governor Yoto.

“Through Ok Tedi Mine, Western province has contributed K50 million. And we are appealing to the Government to give us that money help us attend to the disaster in our Province,” said the Governor.

Main areas to be affected include villages in Nomad LLG along the Southern Highlands border.

In the aftermath, soil and debris are contaminating major water ways, killing fish and affecting corridor community’s access to fresh water.

North Fly MP, James Donald, said it the delay in relief assistance is frustrating.

“We’ve done what we can as a local MP with local community support. We’ve tried to do some charters, helping (to) supply reliefs, but we have not got enough support from the National Government to quickly help us or by releasing some funding quickly.

“We are waiting and our desired outcome will be that we would like to see a response from the National Disaster Coordinating Office, releasing fund or helping us so we can assist our people,” said Donald.

Governor Yoto said a disaster report which includes six recommendation has been presented to the National Disaster Coordinating Office to assist them.

A death toll is yet to be confirmed from the Province, but Governor Yoto said from reports they have, 13 people have died while five people are unaccounted for.

Cedric Patjole