HEAVY POLLUTION IN LAGOONS HIT BE AITAPE TSUNAMI

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (January 22, 1999 - Radio Australia)---Tests in Papua New Guinea have found that lagoons in the region hit by last year's tsunami are still heavily polluted.

Radio Australia correspondent Richard Dinnen reports that the lagoons were an important source of food to communities in the Aitape district:

"Six months after the disaster, tests on water from the lagoons found bacteria counts too high to accurately measure, with large amounts of fecal coliform and staphylococcus aureas.

"That's the legacy of the bodies of many victims having been washed into the lagoons.

"Relief and restoration efforts in the area are continuing.

"A rabbit farm has started, to supplement food supplies. Materials for reconstruction of schools and homes have reached the area, and visits by teams from Rotary Australia, Caritas, UNESCO and various PNG organizations are underway, or due to begin in the coming weeks. A survey of food supplies is being carried out in villages and temporary camps, to determine how much longer emergency rations will be needed.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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