Reports from local committees along the Kikori River have indicated that river water may still be unsafe for drinking, cooking and washing with; following post earthquake impacts on the river system after the 7.5M earthquake in Hela.
In a statement released yesterday(July 9), Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta said despite reports from the Health Department stating that tests have found no trace of harmful substances in the river system, there are still cases of infections and diarrhoea from ground committees.
“It is with much disappointment but with relief that I welcome the release of the Environmental Health Asssesment Report 2018 by the Department of Health in regards to the fish kills, post earthquake effects and impacts on the Kikori River system, from the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck Hela Province.
“The Secretary for Health has issued a letter stating that the microbiological tests have cleared [the] river of any harmful metal or chemical contaminants and that the PH level is normal.
“However, there is continuous reports from the ground committee of skin infections and diarrhoea from washing in the river and using the water from the river for cooking, and this has raised uncertainty and fear amongst the riverine communities.”
Governor Haiveta has issued a strong statement, urging peopling living along the Kikori River, to practice caution and not use the river water. He said: “for their safety, I urge my people to continue to think and practice safety, and exercise caution by continuing to use trapped rain water for drinking and cooking and to thoroughly strain and boil river water before using for domestic purposes.”
Meanwhile the Gulf Provincial Health Team has advised that there is now a higher risk of diarrheal diseases, with the onset of the rainy season, accompanied by continuous floods.
“Our provincial health team has advised that the rainy season has set in and there is continuous flooding which will cause human waste and animal waste to be washed into the river, posing risks for bacterial contamination with [the] potential to cause diarrheal diseases.” said the Gulf Governor.
Governor Haiveta is now calling on the government for a separate assessment to be carried out, to explain why people continue to experience these side effects.
“With the recent reports of skin diseases and infections, I call upon the Controller of the State of Emergency Dr Bill Hamblin to commission a second but separate water and environment investigation and assessment exercise.” He said.
Source: Press Release