No development yet

Despite living near the gateway to PNG’s second largest city, the people of Gabsongkeg are yet to access electricity and proper running water.

This was one of the reasons why they took offence to the Morobe Governor’s decision to rename the Nadzab Airport.

Gabsongkeg has not seen any tangible development for over four decades. They still have no electricity while the community bore water is mainly used for cooking.  

Thatched structures dot the Wampar LLG village with a few modern dwellings and a new Lutheran Church that was opened on June 14, 2020.

The lack of development was one of the reasons why the community threatened to halt works on the Nadzab airport redevelopment project after Governor Ginson Saonu announced that the site will soon be known as the Sir Michael Thomas Somare International Airport.

“We want social services,” said community leader Ben Garry said. “Yu kam na divelopim Gabsongkeg pastem na Gabsongkeg i senis pastem bifo mi ken wanbel wantem yu lo senisim neim.

“Right now, mipla sidaun, balus i flai kam go daun Nadzab epot with no services lo Gabsongkeg.”

Representative of the Ward 17 youths, Isaiah Nagou, highlighted the lack of opportunities provided to the younger generation.

“Taim NAC kam stat lo mekim wok blo epot, i nogat chans blo ol yangpla lo hia lo mekim wok mani blo helpim femli blo ol, helpim papamama, na sidaun blo ol lo ples, helpim church tu. Em nogat na nogat tru.”

The community is urging the provincial and national government to address Gabsongkeg’s needs before embarking on new impact projects, such as the Nadzab township or Wafi-Golpu project pipeline.

Big plans have been unveiled for Nadzab even though Wampar LLG is still calling for a police station, adequate health facilities and infrastructure development.

Meantime, the Civil Aviation Minister has instructed the National Airports Corporation to meet with locals on the 21st of April. This follows the notice to shut Nadzab Airport in 14 days’ time if no response is received from NAC.

(Gabsongkeg village of Wampar LLG in the Huon district, Morobe Province)

Carmella Gware