10,000 In PNG's Western Highlands Cut Off By Flood

Heavy rains wash out culvert; villagers don't know when help will come

By Elias Lari

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 10, 2016) – About 10,000 people from Nebilyer in Western Highlands have been cut off from the rest of the province after flood waters washed away a culvert near Karanum village on Wednesday.

Some are braving swift waters to cross the Tunai River.

The province has been experiencing heavy rain for the past three months and the river started rising at about 3am on Wednesday.

Wanaka tribe councillor Thomas Paraka said that as far as he could remember, it was the first time that the river had burst its banks.

It was fortunate that no one was crossing the culvert bridge when it got washed away, he said.

He said locals built the bridge eight years ago and used it to get to Mt Hagen.

“We are now completely cut off and we are not sure who will come to help us,” Paraka lamented.

He hoped the MP for the area, MP Benjamin Poponawa, would come to their rescue.

Paraka urged the provincial disaster office in the province to help.

He said the bridge was their lifeline.

“We the people of Tambul-Nebilyer electorate depend much on bridges because we have many rivers and creeks,” he said.

He said the Highlands were prone to floods and landslides but this was the first time they were experiencing this.

“I do not know if people living along the river banks have lost their food gardens and other properties. This is the first for us to witness the flood reaching at such heights.

“We hope no one has been washed away as the flood occurred during the early hours.”

The National
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