By Tokana Hasavi Jnr – EM TV, Port Moresby
Last week, the National Weather Service warned the country that flash flooding and landslips may occur in the next 90 days, due to heavy downpour and strong winds.
Director, Samuel Maiha while sounding the alarm urged the national government, to be prepared for relief utilities. Maiha explained that the country is currently experiencing a ‘weak’ El Nino.
However, the impact of its opposite and traditional subsequent, La Nina, which predominantly produces torrential rainfall, is predicted to cause disaster
He stated that strong winds with gusts and substantial rainfall make the perfect recipe to erode bridges and roads whilst reducing the harvest of agricultural commodities.
Mr. Maiha threw caution to the anticipated strong winds, saying the next 90 days can be compared to past natural disasters that claimed many lives and severely impacted basic services.
Maiha claims that the Rabaul Queen Tragedy that led to the demise of more than a hundred passengers and the landslips in the Highlands last year that claimed over 50 villagers, are the ramifications of La Nina.
In July last year, The National Disaster Centre reported at least five villages inundated by the Purari River, due to heavy downpour in Gulf Province.
In Southern Highlands, Kagua Erave and Nipa Kutubu endured many landslips that halted transport services and affected 30,000 people.
In August, the Hump Core Bridge on the Kimbe-Hoskins Highway in West New Britain was destroyed. Production in the Oil Palm Industry dropped and the travelling public denied access.
In 2013, The Buluma Bridge leading to Hoskins Airport was washed away by the floods, which resulted in the suspension of flights.
Mr. Maiha is concerned about the monies allocated for relief efforts and social utilities, adding that it may prove insufficient for this year.
In the 2015 National Budget, 213 million kina is allocated for road and bridge repairs that might get damaged by natural disasters.
With a large amount of rainfall expected in coming months and high chances of roads and bridges washed away, the maintenance bill might run into the millions.