Over 140 thousand affected in Simbu disaster

Prime Minister James Marape has called for quick response to help people and restore infrastructure and services affected by landslip and flooding in Simbu Province.

The Simbu Provincial Disaster Office presented, to the Prime Minister, an initial assessment of the disaster and what needs to be restored.

Prime Minister Marape made an aerial inspection of areas affected by flooding and landslips caused by heavy rains in Simbu Province and other parts of the country yesterday, 1st April 2024.

He visited the three worst affected districts of Gumine, Karamui-Sol Nomane, Kundiawa-Gembolg, and parts of Chuave and Sinesine Yongmul.

Provincial Administrator, John Punde, indicated that as on Monday 1st April, 14 people have been buried alive. Only one child was rescued and is receiving medical attention.

More than 70,000 people of Gumine and another 70,000 in Karamui-Nomane are impacted by the disasater.

The Prime Minister appealed to the Simbu Provincial finance officers to respond by using whatever money they have.

He visited Simbu after making a similar visit in areas affected by flooding in the East Sepik Province.

"We must respond quicker than later and that is why I have come here to Simbu after I have visited Wewak, Pagwi, Angoram in East Sepik affected by flooding and an earthquake.

"I appreciate the update and work on responding initially to the disaster for your valiant efforts.

"The National Government through the Department of Works and Highways will get an estimate and get the major truck road network restored," he said.

Prime Minister has also urged the Simbu Provincial Government and the affected districts to use the machines that are already there to clear up the debris that is blocking the road.

"We will mobilize the money for Gumine and Sol-Nomane roads. For Gembolg, we will use another K5 million on emergency roads and bridge restoration and clearance.

"We have sent some funding to the Department of Works and Highways, and we have K100 million for the initial mobilization work.

"We must be honest in our work and appeal to the Simbu Provincial Works Disaster to do what you can for your people. I hope the Gumine road will be open and in two weeks' time."

Prime Minister Marape also said the initial K100 million earmarked for disaster nationwide will be released sooner.

He said the Simbu Provincial Government will give K5 million to help the three districts. Gumine and Karamui will get K2 million each whilst Chuave and Sinesine Yongumul, K1 million each.

"The funds will be used to restore roads, schools, purchase medicines for those affected.

"To avoid future disaster, let's live in areas where it's strong and cannot be affected and stop building homes in areas that will be destroyed by the disasters," said Prime Minister Marape.

The District of Gumine is completely cut off and inaccessible by officials and needs the roads to be restored.

The National Government has so far through the Works and Highways Department issued to contractors K20 million to connect the roads and infrastructure in Gumine District alone.

The Works Department estimates that the damages done are extensive and stands at K221million. And of that, Simbu is the worst affected with K72 million worth of damage to infrastructure.

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