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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 25, 1999 – Post-Courier)---Heavy rain and strong winds have caused major flooding and cut road links between Port Moresby and the Abau area in Central Province.

National Disaster and Emergency Services Director General Ludwick Kembu said 36,000 villagers between Abau and Amazon Bay were affected by the disruption.

Mr. Kembu said a briefing from the National Weather Service showed that this abnormal weather was not likely to subside for three months.

An assessment team discovered that food gardens were under water and water supplies had been affected by the flooding.

He estimated that Abau villagers affected by the flooding total about 6,000.

Mr. Kembu said food and water purification tablets would be sent to the affected area today by ships.

Further flooding is expected along the Papuan Coast in places like Kiunga in Western Province, parts of Gulf Province and Milne Bay.

Mr. Kembu has warned people in these coastal areas to stock up on food and ensure they set up galvanized iron to catch water from the rooftops for drinking.


National Weather Service chief research meteorologist Samuel Maiha said areas along the Papuan coast might not experience their traditional dry season this year, and that others due for their wet season might find it wetter than usual.

Mr. Maiha said areas along the Papuan Coast and the southern coasts of New Britain were expected to be wetter than normal until at least October.

Mr. Maiha said that the sea surface over the western Pacific, including PNG south coasts, warmed up, resulting in abundant moist air that produces rain.

He said this had happened along the coastline, with the help of the current strong east to west winds.

Mr. Maiha said the Australian landmass acted as a shield, blocking the westward flow of warm seas, including the flooding effect along the coastline.

He said this didn't appear to be the case over northern PNG areas, including Manus and New Ireland.

He warned that if the warm pool along the south coasts did not cool to normal by the onset of the wet season in November, there was likely to be increased cyclonic activity in the Coral Sea. He warned the people living along the Papuan coastline and New Britain to take extra precautions in case of flooding and strong winds from now until October.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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