ROADS WASH OUT IN PNG HIGHLANDS

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Heavy rains cause landslides, flooding

By Pisai Gumar PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National,) - A washed away road section, a landslide and flooding of the Kumalu River are affecting business and people living in the Bulolo and Menyamya districts of Morobe province.

A section of the road at Patep Stone near Zenag Highlands Products in Mumeng has slipped off. Just a few metres away, a huge landslide sent down boulders that blocked the road.

A few kilometres from Zenag, the raging Kumalu River pushed up heaps of gravel, blocking the road and creating another waterway.

The Zenag River and all small creeks are flooded following continuous rain in the past week, making it hard for heavy vehicles to cross.

Several culverts from various sections were washed away. The strong currents of the creeks have also created a new drainage system by digging up the sealed tar at the edges of certain road sections, posing a major traffic hazard.

Major companies include Morobe Mining Joint Venture and its contractors, PNG Forest Products, Zenag and Yha Hauka Kofi coffee have been affected.

Local retail owners, coffee buyers and sellers and the travelling public from both districts were cut off from all services.

At the site, Bulolo MP Sam Basil said he was ashamed to see MMJV equipment coming in to remove the piles of debris blocking the road.

"How can these companies pay huge sums of taxes to the national and provincial governments and come again for assistance at such times," Mr. Basil asked.

As such, the State was compromising its obligation to investors and this was not on, he said.

The Bulolo district had its K9 million invested in the National Works trust account since 2008 and this money should be used to maintain the Wau/Bulolo road, Basil said, adding that the Government was failing the investors and the people of the electorate.

The Works Department is expected to repair the slipped-off section of the road and clear debris left by the flooding rivers and creeks.

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