By Bethannie Harriman – EM TV, Lae
Remote villages surrounding Morobe’s historical Kaiapit Station, in the Markham Valley, will have water supply through a project funded by the district administration and supported by World Vision.
It follows years of struggle by the people when seasonal patterns changed dramatically. Shorter wet seasons meant longer dry spells, which increased the need for a reliable water supply.
While on route to Ampan Primary School where a water project was going to be launched by Markham MP, Paul Isikiel; I met four women from a village near the old Kaiapit Station, who had to walk two kilometres from their homes to find water for cooking and drinking.
Mothers in many other villages along the road into the station say that they have lived with water challenges, for many years.
Climate change and the lack of government support have been contributing factors to the suffering.
Martha Thomas said successive governments overlooked the communities’ need for water supply.
At the turn of the millennium seasonal patterns changed and the atmosphere, soil and people in Markham had become thirstier. It has become far more difficult to find water.
Central Province, most of the Eastern Highlands, Western Province and Milne Bay Province are also known for seasonal weather patterns, such as that experienced in the Markham District of Morobe Province. All of these places have seen changes in rainfall affecting people’s daily lives and the way crops are being harvested.
Markham is known for its cocoa cooperatives.
At the launching of the water project, local MP and Housing Minister, Paul Isikiel, said:
“The district has put K100,000 as counter funding through to World Vision to use, we have sourced water in the nearby mountain range, the water is elevated and captured and we are using the gravity feed to supply nearly six different villages.”
The move, seen by many people as a vital government service delivered to communities that have suffered for far too long.
Yesterday’s launching is part of twenty five other water projects already being carried out.
During his speech, Minister Isikiel said five million kina of district funds have been allocated for water projects throughout the nine ward councils of Markham.