by Serah Aupong – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Mourning relatives of the 11 Papua New Guinea’s who died in the Kiunga plane crash are questioning the distribution of government services in the country.
With the area located in a remote part of PNG that has no road access, their only mode of transportation outside of their communities is through third level airlines.
They join calls from the Accident Investigation Commission, Sandaun Governor and Telefomin MP for a road link to connect them to major towns.
Relatives of the 11 have established six hauskrais around the country. On Sunday, some travelled down to Kiunga from the Tabubil hauskrai.
The hauskrai in Kiunga was packed to capacity when more than 200 immediate relatives of the victims came down from Tabubil on Sunday to be near the bodies of their loved ones.
Chairman of the Tabubil hauskrai, Oswald Tumku, said the convoy of 11 travelled to the end of the Kiunga runway where they observed one minute’s silence before they made it to the Kiunga hauskrai site.
Among the group was a man who lost his whole immediate family.
His wife Ronsila and daughters Calista, aged four, Mijaycy, aged two, and Raynester, aged just one were on their way to visit him in Tabubil where he works with OTML.
Clement Wani said they called him that afternoon to tell him to get ready, as they were on their way. Later that afternoon he received a phone call that they had all died in the plane crash.
Overwhelmed with grief, he collapsed when the convoy reached the hauskrai on Sunday.
Along with grief there is an overwhelming sense of frustration and concern that despite this great loss, they have no other choice but to continue to use this mode of transportation.
Wani and the others say the government must seriously take action to build a road.
“It is a great risk,” Wani said.
Jackson Pinen, who lost a brother in the crash, said there should be fairer distribution of wealth around the country.
“Hundreds and millions are wasted in Port Moresby and Lae while people in remote areas are suffering in silence” he said.
Another mourning relative, Doshan Poundon, said they as a people don’t feel the presence of the government.
“Mipla krai na tok yu (gavaman) mas tingim mipla. Mipla mas fil olsem mipla gat lida, mipla mas fil olsem mipla gat gavaman”(The government must listen to our pleas. We must feel like we have leaders, we must feel that we have a government).