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CALL FOR QUICK RESPONSE TO DISASTER AFFECTED AREAS IN SIMBU

Prime Minister James Marape has called for quick response to help people and restore infrastructure and services affected by landslip and flooding in Simbu Province.

Prime Minister said the people, schools, and public servants were affected by the recent natural disasters deserves government utmost attention and care.

He said this after making an aerial inspection of areas affected by flooding and landslips caused by heavy rains in Simbu Province and other parts of the country.

Prime Minister Marape visited the three worst affected districts of Gumine, Karamui-Sol Nomane, Kundiawa-Gembolg, and parts of Chuave and Sinesine Yongmul on Monday, 1st of April 2024.

The Simbu Provincial Disaster Office presented an initial assessment of the disaster and what needs to be restored to the Prime Minister.

The Provincial Administrator, John Punde, when presenting the report to the Prime Minister Marape, indicated that a total of 14 people have been buried alive. Only a small girl managed to be rescued and is receiving medical attention while eleven others were buried alive in mud and debris, and no bodies were recovered.

Prime Minister after hearing the report and seeing the magnitude of the disaster expressed his sincere condolences to the families and relatives of those who have lost their lives, cut off from Kundiawa, and affected by the disaster.

He thanked the leaders of Gumine, Kundiawa-Gembolg, and the Simbu Provincial Government for their quick response.

“I am satisfied and happy on the work you did. After the aerial inspection of the disaster struck areas, the damage is extensive and higher. But we will help fix the damage, and the government will support you all,” said Prime Minister Marape.

He appealed to the Simbu Provincial finance officers to respond by using whatever money they had in their account.

“I do urge you to use the funding quickly, and don’t wait as we will reimburse and replenish the money you use for disaster appeal.

“We must respond quicker than later and that is why I have come here to Simbu after I have visited Wewak, Pagwi, Angoram in East Sepik affected by flooding and an earthquake and Markham District in Morobe Province who were also affected by flooding,” he said.

Prime Minister has also urged the Simbu Provincial Government and the affected districts to use the machines that are already there to clear up the debris that is blocking the road.

“Let us not waste time and build those infrastructure destroyed. Public servants have been cut off, and roads and bridges must be restored so the people can access the main centres.

“We will mobilize the money for Gumine and Sol-Nomane roads. For Gembolg, we will use another K5 million on emergency roads and bridge restoration and clearance.

“We have sent some funding to the Department of Works and Highways, and we have K100 million for the initial mobilization work.

“We must be honest in our work and appeal to the Simbu Provincial Works Disaster to do what you can for your people. I hope the Gumine road will be open in two weeks’ time.”

Prime Minister Marape also said the initial K100 million earmarked for disaster nationwide will be released sooner.

He said the Simbu Provincial Government will give K5 million to help the three districts. Gumine and Karamui K2 million each whilst Chuave and Sinesine Yongumul K1million each.

The Simbu Provincial Government says it is looking at ensuring access to the affected areas, and the main road must remain open and foremost.

Secondly, they plan to get the technical engineers and officers to estimate how much it will cost to rebuild infrastructure like roads, bridges, facilities like clinics, and others that have been affected.

Gumine District is completely cut off and inaccessible by officials and needs the roads to be restored.

The National Government has so far through the Works and Highways Department issued K20 million to contractors to connect the roads and infrastructure in Gumine District alone.

The Works Department estimates that the damages done are extensive and stands at K221million. And of that, Simbu is the worst affected with K72 million worth of damage to infrastructure.

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