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SOMARE ‘SADDENED’ TO SEE HOME VILLAGE UNDER WATER Villagers without essential supplies for about five days

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 16, 2008) – Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare was saddened to see the devastation in Wewak and his Karau village in East Sepik province.

Sir Michael said in a statement yesterday that he was sad to see many villages along the Murik Lakes being washed away by huge waves.

"When he got on the ground, he was visibly moved by the extent of the destruction before him," according to a statement issued by the PM’s media unit.

Sir Michael flew to his home province on Saturday to visit badly affected areas along the coast.

He was accompanied by Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch, East Sepik Governor Peter Wararu, Chief of Staff Paul Bengo, and acting secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and NEC, Gideon Oli.

On arrival in Wewak, Sir Michael and his party met with the East Sepik provincial administration.

He said roads along Meni beach in Wewak were temporarily closed as a result of the build-up in sand and corals and many business houses were building sandbanks to protect their premises.

Sir Michael later departed by helicopter to Murik Lakes where his Karau village is located.

He told the people that the Government was aware of what had happened and was sending relief food supplies and shelter to them.

Water was also sent to the affected areas as all sources of fresh water was now filled with sea water.

Sir Michael said while the sea was calm as of yesterday morning, he would personally visit other parts of the New Guinea Islands to ensure devastated areas got help from the Government.

Meanwhile, Mr Pruaitch also visited three islands (Ali, Tumeleo and Selio) outside Aitape that were hit the hardest by the waves and assured the islanders of food and other relief supplies.

He said a jetty at Ali Island was extensively damaged by the waves while half of Selio Island was now submerged.

Mr Pruaitch said the islanders had been without essential supplies for about five days and would remain in Aitape to make sure they got their supplies and water containers before he returns to Port Moresby.

The National,

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