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PNG’S TUMBI REGION RECEIVES LANDSLIDE FUNDS, PIGS Money mostly for repairs, disaster operations

By Jeffrey Elapa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 9, 2012) – More than K3 million [US$1.44 million] of a K10 million [US$4.8 million] government commitment has been handed over to people affected by the huge landslide at Tumbi.

Provincial disaster coordinator Martin Pat said 50 pigs were also given to the relatives of the people who had died. The pigs were from the government, LNG developers ExxonMobil and its partners.

The official death toll is 22 although locals believe more than 25 people were buried alive in the January 24 landslide.

Pat said since the incident, the main road leading to Hides 4 and Komo airfield had been re-opened to traffic after consultation with the landowners and relatives of the deceased.

Pat said K2 million of the money which had been promised by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was used for disaster operations.

The remainder will be used to repair the section of the road buried by the landslide.

He said construction of a memorial and its cost will be borne by the developer and the disaster centre.

In the cheque handing over ceremony, Pat told landowner chief Stanis Talu that the funds were for rehabilitation and relocation of villagers hit by the landslide.

Meanwhile, the road leading to Hides 4, Komo station and the airport was cleared two weeks ago with the help of members of the army and police, and workers from the Department of Works and the ExxonMobil.

Engineers based at the site said the original road remained buried and a bypass had been built to allow traffic through to the project site at Hides 4 and Komo airport.

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