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Homes, gardens damaged, families left homeless

By Abigail Apina

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 2, 2012) – Many families in parts of East New Britain province are homeless after floods last weekend caused by a week of torrential rainfall damaged homes.

Parts of Warongoi, Kerevat, Vunapalading and inland Baining in Gazelle district and Sikut Matupit in Rabaul district were hard hit as rivers burst their banks.

The floods damaged homes and washed away food gardens.

The Kerevat River was the worst, breaking its banks last Friday night and washing away many homes, food gardens and damaging property.

Motorists and people travelling from Kerevat Correctional Institute, inland Baining, Vunapalading, Vudal and Kereba were stranded on one side of the river until noon Saturday because the Kerevat Bridge, their only link to the Kerevat growth centre, Rabaul town and Kokopo town was flooded.

Soap and cooking oil factory Tropic Frond Oils Ltd was severely affected by the flood.

The factory owned by Dennis and Debra Hills and located several metres from Kerevat River saw three huge containers being washed away by the rising floodwaters.

Two of the huge containers got stuck at the bridge, while a third was carried down the river and deposited in bushes at the end of the Kerevat sports field.

A boat and a car were deposited at the factory.

Police arrived there early on Saturday to evacuate people to higher ground.

There were no reports of deaths but it is understood many families are displaced and need help.

The owners of Tropic Frond Oils Ltd are understood to be returning from Melbourne today to assess the situation.

Homes along the Warongoi River were reported to have been washed away by floodwaters.

There were reports of that river overflowing into low-lying areas, with waters rising about eight feet at 4am on Saturday.

A landslide on Ilugi road in the Warongoi area was reported to have occurred on Friday night, blocking the road.

It was reported that homes at Sikut Matupit stages 1 to 4 were flooded.

The Tavaluai River, at inland Baining, was reported to have flooded on Friday night, with fallen trees destroying many homes on the river banks.

Many power lines on Napapar road and other parts of Gazelle district have fallen after being buffeted by strong winds.

Attempts to speak with relevant authorities in the province on Saturday were unsuccessful.

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