By Martha Louis – EMTV News, Madang
PNGDF’s HMPNGS Lakekamu is set to depart Madang for Manam Island to bring relief supplies to the affected islanders following the recent volcanic eruptions.
Red Cross, TST, Papindo and the Madang Provincial Government through a collective effort, contributed food, cloths, tents, first aid and other items for the affected villages.
The first load of relief supplies are ready to be delivered to the affected Manam islanders using PNGDF’s HMPNGS Lakekamu vessel.
The Manam operation was done through a joint partnership agreement with National Disaster Office and the Madang Provincial Government.
Major Joshua Dorpar who is heading the operation says, the vessel has already been loaded and ready to depart on Tuesday noon due to the LLG elections.
The vessel was loaded with food supplies including rice bails, tinned fish, noodles and oil as well as tents, canvases and water bottles.
The first load of supplies will be delivered to the first 7 villages that are badly affected.
The turn over time for the vessel will be 72 hours – this is to go in line with the Madang Provincial Government’s plan to get all relief supplies straight to the people, as in past instances, supplies sent to the affected islanders have gone missing. The PNGDF personnel will also be bringing along forms that will be countersigned by the village elders and personnel to make sure villagers have received the rations.
The Madang Provincial Government has placed in K500 000 towards the operation including some business houses in Madang.
The supplies are estimated to last for at least a month whilst waiting for the National Government funds to be released, for yet, another food ration to be organised for the islanders.
For now, the PNGDF is on the ground to assist the Madang Provincial Government and the National Government to deliver the basic needs to the people of Manam.
A forward base for the PNGDF will be set up at Manam with a medical team. These changes will also see a PNGDF chopper on standby, and once approval is granted to be used, PNGDF will bring any casualties or very sick people from Manam onto mainland Bogia and from Bogia they can be airlifted to Modilon General Hospital in Madang.