Hela Province

Concerns raised over safety of Hela children, women

The Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC), a sectoral committee of the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council (CIMC), is appealing to community leaders, tribal leaders and individuals, including men, to put an end to the fighting and pursue conflict resolution so that much needed humanitarian support and government assistance can continue into the province.

Disaster villagers call for resettlement

The leaders of the council wards in those affected areas came to Port Moresby last weekend and raised their concerns and tried to get answers.

The leaders were led by Deputy Governor for Hela, Thomas Potabe, who raised concerns that their people are currently in fear and cannot go back to their villages.

Potabe said most of their properties were lost including gardens and road networks.

“We must resettle our people to new locations as we cannot go back to our villages in fear of the earthquake.”

Three died due to starvation: Local

From these, the newsroom has gathered that fresh water and food supply is currently an immediate need.

So far, two children and an old woman from Mapuli village in the Komo-Margarima LLG of Hela Province, passed away yesterday, believed to be from starvation.

This is according to local woman Akili Kapiako.

Kapiako’s father had a nail embedded in his head during the earthquake, however he is stable now at the Tari hospital.

Other than that, she says locals have been without food and fresh water for three days now.

Community leader upset with disaster response

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?”

Province controlled by ‘he who has a gun'

Many have died, many more are fleeing their homes, and only a few are making the bold stand to expose the actual situation on ground.

Over the weekend, Rev Wai Tege, Bishop of United Church in Hela, sat with Loop PNG to expose the grim situation.

He said very soon, Hela will be a province controlled by “he who has a gun”.

“Hela has roughly 300 thousand people. About 50 – 60 percent of that is male, and each of them own a gun. I’m not talking about home-made guns, these are high powered guns,” he said.

Over K400m budget for Hela Province

Governor Philip Undialu released a public statement on Tuesday confirming this, and promised that its first priority will be to assist students.

Governor Undialu said officers from Treasury will travel to Tari this week to load the provincial government accounts before money can be withdrawn to implement its first priority of school fees.

However, the Governor has urged parents to be equally responsible and pay up compulsory fees to ensure their children are registered.

He said the government will only assist given the increased number of students.

Help for tribal fight victims

Community groups based in the province have now come together to see how best they can cater to these vulnerable group of people.

The Hela Council of Churches, Hela Meri’s Never Give Up, Tari Family Sexual Violence Unit, Young Ambassadors of Peace and Peace and Good Order Committee are working very hard to get the provincial authorities to address this issue.

Among their efforts they have also started the Hela Relief Appeal in partnership with Advancing PNG: Women Leaders Network Inc.

Ripped testicle case: Tari man guilty

Thomas Warepa was convicted today and is now in custody at Bomana awaiting his sentence.

Justice Martin Ipang found he caused grievous bodily harm by pulling off Kelo Kewaki’s testicles in the family home at Erima, Port Moresby, on June 25 last year.

But the court noted that he had reasons behind his action. He was assaulted by Kewaki after he was found sleeping in a room of the house he wasn't supposed to.

5yo’s skills stun crowd

He is shy and does not talk or play much. But when called upon to read to his peers and the public at the Kuluanda Literacy Library last week, he trudged up, in bare feet and tons of confidence, silencing the crowd with his clear voice and new-found literacy skill.

Elizah’s thrilling reading act was one of the highlights of August 11, the final day of a week-long event organised at the literacy library to mark the annual National Book Week. The children put up role plays and activities in front of emotional parents and the general public to show what they have learnt.

Gamato explains burning of ballot papers

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato clarified that the invalid ballot papers were burnt by presiding officers and witnessed by scrutinizers, candidates and security officials.

He explained that the ballot papers were invalid because they contained the name of the Koroba-Kopiago electorate and were to be used at Tari Pori.

This came after a government decision to split the 26 wards of the Avi-Pori local area in Tari-Pori electorate.