Southern Highlands Province

PM condemns calls for his resignation

O’Neill said now is the time for parties involved in the court decision that preceded the unrest to work together.

In a media conference yesterday, PM O’Neill said the leaders of Southern Highlands have organised themselves, particularly those involved in the election dispute, so they can work together to manage expectations of the people in the province.

He said every time there is an incident around the country, the Opposition always calls for his resignation.

SHP relief supplies in Mt Hagen

This newsroom was reliably informed that over 2,000 items, including water tanks and food such as tinned fish and noodles, are in Mt Hagen ready to be transported to Mendi Town.

These items are part of the government’s relief efforts after declaring a State Of Emergency following the earthquake in February this year.

Food supplies were necessary after the earthquake destroyed most of the food gardens that the affected people depended heavily on.

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Ultimatum issued to Govt to pay up

They have warned that serious actions will be taken to make their call heard.

The landowners said they have been quiet for too long and it was time they came out to speak on the issue.

Representatives from the region say following the signing of the Umbrella Benefit Sharing Agreement (UBSA) and Landowner Benefit Sharing Agreement in 2009 for the PNG LNG Project, they were promised K19 million.

However they said they only received a fraction of that.

1 week later: Help yet to reach remote villages

Hunger and dehydration continue to rise while deaths remain unaccounted for.

Local police officer Jacob Kumin has confirmed that brief tremors resumed this morning after ceasing for almost 3 days.

He further revealed there has not been any government presence in the impacted villages.

He said Oil Search is on ground and started doing village to village assessment and at the same time, handing out bottled water and some food items.

Day 4: No relief yet

For some, like those at Baguale in the Kutubu LLG, Southern Highlands Province, the little they have is running out.

Villager Paul Ipakase told Loop PNG that today marks day four since the devastation.

He expressed sadness that neither of the companies in the area have tried to help the locals.

Ipakase said all villagers have been scattered since the disaster, and most have now gathered at the Baguale Primary School.

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.

Rumours of SHP volcanic eruption dismissed

Following the devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake that hit the Highlands region early Monday morning, rumours of Mt Bosavi erupting took social media by storm yesterday (Feb 27).

However, the RVO say satellite images show no unusual happenings at any old Highlands volcanoes. 

Police property damaged in quake: Officer

Police Officer Joseph Kumin, who is on ground in Moro, Southern Highlands Province, told this newsroom that the earthquake hit at around 3:30am today.

Officer Kumin confirmed the 2 strongest tremors lasted up to about 2 minutes, while short tremors are still being felt.

Officer Kumin was not able to confirm the total damages in Moro, but said police officers found their desktop computers and printers on the floor of their office, damaged.

Fully-kitted ambulance for rural centre

Recently the health centre received a brand new fully-kitted Mobile Health Clinic (MHC) ambulance to assist with its rural health outreach programs to the 22,000-plus population it serves.

This was possible thanks to a Public Private Partner arrangement between Digicel PNG Foundation and the Imbonggu District Development Authority (DDA), each sharing 50 percent of the total cost.

Mendi anticipates PAC swearing-in

This is in preparation for the swearing - in of the provinces, Provincial Assembly council members.

Meantime, the Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, is expected to arrive today as well to be sworn-in.

Other members of the Assembly include Governor, William Powi, Imbonggu MP, Pila Ninigi, Mendi MP, Michael Nali, Nipa Kutubu MP, Jeffrey Komal and Kagua Erave MP, Wesley Raminai.

Meanwhile, police are maintaining road checks and can be observed to be checking vehicles driving into and out of Mendi.

More updates to come.