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Remote Station Suffers High Costs Of Goods & Services

Tep Tep is one of the most remote stations located at the mountainous boarders of Madang and Morobe Provinces.

Its only access is through aircraft from Lae, and the cost of transporting goods to support vital services like health and education is expensive.

 

The people say isolation has been part of their life since independence.

 

The only access into Tep Tep that can bring in enough supply for vital services is by airplanes from Lae.

 

The planes land once every week at an airstrip dug out by locals before independence.

 

But, expensive air freight costs have put a strain on much of the stations function of delivering service to this remote part of our country.

 

Local Samson Baez is a teacher at the Tep Tep primary school.

 

He says most teachers have left because of the high cost of goods and services coming into the station.

 

Teaching resources has become scarce whist the school struggles to teach a large number of students.

 

"When the school has money, we buy text books and other resources,"he says.

 

The station’s school and health center is powered by this generator; fuel is rationed so that the Health Center can function when there are emergencies.

 

About 300 meters away is the stations Health Center. Gabrielle Poap, the Nursing officer says drugs are fast running out, whilst they struggle to treat patients suffering from pneumonia and contain a possible measles outbreak.

 

Much of the health centers specialist equipment and two radios aren’t working, and at any emergency, the nurses can’t call for help.

 

The cost of goods brought in by plane is off the roof; people buy sugar and tin food for double the prices sold for in Lae and Madang.

 

Store Keeper, Jaraka Karangne says the mark-up of the goods has to cover the cost of access bought when the goods are flown in.

 

People living in villages around the station grow fruits and vegetables, but these widely sought after food items are only sold within the stations local market.

 

The high costs of transport has meant these fruits and vegetable can’t reach Urban markets in Lae and Madang.

 

Cash flow in the station is at an all-time low.

 

Today, it takes parents who are simple farmers a whole year to raise enough money for school fees.

 

Coffee gardens have been neglected after pervious government administrations promised to build a highway link that hasn’t happened.

 

Much of the station has become self-reliant. Government official have long left their post and their homes and office buildings have deteriorated.

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