Quake, Flood Ravages Oro

Following the 5.3 magnitude earthquake last Saturday and continuous flooding has ravaged Oro Province destroying gardens and a bridge washed out along the Kokoda highway.

Air Niugini and PNG Air flights into the province have been cancelled for a day while most people were warned to stay indoors.

Provincial Administrator, Trevor Magei has confirmed that the epic centre was at Ubo, Safia local level government areas in Ijivitari district on the border of Oro and Central provinces.

He said the Rabaul Volcano Observatory centre, GEO Observatory Hawaii, National Disaster Centre and the Oro Provincial Disaster Centre, confirmed the earthquake measuring 5.3 magnitude on the Richter scale.

“As of 8pm last Sunday the situation was back to normal with nil reports received on damages as per confirmation from IDA. However, the provincial disaster committee would continue to gather information and advise the public during the week,” Mr Magei said.

Collapsed bridge in Oro Province. Source: Supplied

He said after the earthquake, a heavy downpour followed that caused havoc for people to cross rivers and even bridges collapsed.

Kaire Bridge situated towards end of Kokoda was washed out due to strong currents from heavy flooding at Armco and eventually blocking it off the highway.

People traveling to and from Kokoda have been left stranded on either side causing delay in traffic.
Mr Magei said the provincial disaster team has been deployed to the affected areas and a detailed report would be released soon.

Meanwhile, Oro Governor Gary Juffa said it was unfortunate that such disaster had to occur. He warned his people to stay indoors and wait until the floods subside.

Flooding in Oro Province. Source: Supplied

“We are not sure if any lives or houses and properties have been destroyed or lost. We will wait to hear from our disaster team who have always been on their toes when such situations arise,” he said.

Governor Juffa added that the damage to the culvert at the Kaire Bridge has created an adverse effect on the mobility of road transportation between Popondetta and Kokoda.

He also thanked Higaturu Oil company for supplying manpower and machinery to swiftly repair the washed-out section of the bridge.
Higaturu Oil Palm is part of the New Britain Palm Oil limited who also operate Mamba Estate near Kokoda station.

Freddy Mou