HIGH TIDE LEAVES PNG VILLAGERS IN DISTRESS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 31) – Villagers in the Bamu and Gama River delta of Papua New Guinea’s Western Province are in dire need of food and medical supplies after high tides brought in knee-deep mud and debris, destroying their staple food of sago (palm) and has also swept away their chickens and ducks.

[PIR editor’s note: Western Province is a coastal province in southwestern Papua New Guinea; Daru island is the provincial capital.]

"They have got to be the poorest people in my view in PNG at the moment," said Dr. Morris Wainetti from the United Church Health Services in Daru.

He reported last Thursday that the people in the area, close to the Western and Gulf boarders, needed all the help they could get and not just that of the government.

The people need clothing, mosquito nets, cooking utensils as well as medical supplies, Dr. Wainetti said. He also appealed to the Western Governor and Middle Fly Member of Parliament Dr. Bob Danaya to do something about the people’s plight.

2,085 people have moved to the Emeti Government Station Care Centre with numbers increasing.

The people have written to Inter-Government Relations Minister Sir Peter Barter saying that the government resettled them at the care center, but they were not being properly cared for…

"The local food is all finished, the government has spoken of helping but no help has come and this is a ‘no care’ centre.

"They have collected the Bamu people here and left them to starve," they said.

They said the Bamu people have missed out on delivery of government services since 1975 and there had been no benefits to the Bamu people from the government. Government services have been unfairly distributed within the electorate and within the province, and for the last 30 years the Bamu people have missed government services, they said.

The letter also told Sir Peter that the people were in an awkward situation where most people’s lives were in danger of starvation and at risk of diseases.

They questioned why other disasters in the nation received relief while they remained neglected.

The people have threatened to "cause inconvenience and disturb the movements of various company tugboats and cargo vessels trespassing through the Bamu and Aramia rivers" if their concerns were neglected.

Dr. Wainetti said he could not to go to the area because of high tensions.

November 1, 2005

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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