As of yesterday afternoon, seven people are confirmed to have died in flash flooding in the Mul district of Western Highlands Province.
The bodies of four people were retrieved this afternoon, miles away from the disaster area. Another three are still missing.
EMTV News arrived at the scene, less than eight hours after the incident occurred.
The extent of the damage has involved seven people confirmed dead, and three or four unconfirmed reports of people missing during the sudden flood.
Food gardens, houses, and animals were washed away by the flood.
Locals are still shocked that a small river can flood to an extent of 30 meters wide, and 10 meters deep, with tidal wave consequences.
Local eye witness, Angra Pulga, said he returned from the bush, and heard the raging sound from the river, and in no time, he saw the small river turn into an angry wave, carrying down big stones, and trees turned upside down.
Angra fled for his life.
’’Me kam painim diwai clostu lo wara stap ya, mi harim pairap now mi tanim na lukim ya, wara kam ya, mi nogat way lo go so mi run go antap lo mountain na wara kam kisim house na man mery go (I came looking for wood by the river and i heard noise from the river. When i turned it was too late, the flood was already close so i ran up to the hill as the flood took away houses and people)’’, Angra said that.
The local Nenga people said there was no rain yesterday to cause the river to flood, that was why they were caught by surprise.
At around 3 to 4pm yesterday, nature took its own course, and the flash flooding continued till midnight.
The small river called Kuma, starts from the foot of Mountain Hagen, joins the Gumanch river, and ends at Kikori.
These locals also live at the tip of Mountain Hagen in Mul LLG.
’’Em karim ol diwai I kam, tanim ass blo diwai I go antap, m kam osem how bipo ol tumbuna I laik paitwantem stick now, putim stick antap lo face blo ol kamya wankind olsem em kam na mi pret na me tok wara u like go pait wantem usite man na kam? Mi tok olsem now mi runaway go ( The flood brought tree trunks with it. The flood resembled how our ancestors went to fight with sticks. As it came I feared for my life and asked the flood who it was coming for and ran for my life.)’’ says, Angra, the eyewitness.
A permanent house and household goods belonging to the Mul LLG President was also washed away.
The flood left nothing, excerpt the big stones and logs.
Robert Namba, the Assistant District Administrator who’s also a local said the flood also took away two excavators, two permanent bridges and some sawmills a worst disaster he has ever witnessed.
The locals are cut off from going to the town, school, or hospital. They are appealing to their local MP, Governor and the National Disaster centre for relief supplies, as well as quick repairs to the damaged roads and bridges.
By Vasinatta Yama – EM TV, Mt Hagen