14 people buried alive in Gumine landslide

Tuesday, 2 April 2024, 3:31 pm

Heavy rains caused landslips in Gumine District, Simbu Province (PM's Media)

Heavy rain, causing massive flooding and landslips have buried 14 people in Simbu Province

This is according to a brief by Provincial Administrator John Punde to Prime Minister James Marape on Monday, after the prime minister flew on a helicopter to see firsthand affected districts of Gumine, Karamui-Sol Nomane, Kundiawa-Gembogl, and parts of Chuave and Sinesine Yongomugl.

The Prime Ministers' visit to the mountainous province, followed his visit to earthquake affected villages along the Sepik River of East Sepik.    

Mr Marape thanked the leaders of Gumine, Kundiawa-Gembolg, and the Simbu Provincial Government for their quick response.

"I am satisfied and happy on the work you did. After the aerial inspection of the disaster struck areas, the damage is extensive and higher. But we will help fix the damage, and the government will support you all," Mr Marape said.

He further appealed to the Simbu Provincial Administration to provide urgent relief assistance using monies in its account.

"I do urge you to use the funding quickly, and don't wait [for the national government] as we will reimburse and replenish the money you use.

"We must respond quicker than later and that is why I have come here to Simbu after I have visited Wewak, Pagwi, Angoram in East Sepik affected by flooding and an earthquake and Markham District in Morobe Province who were also affected by flooding.

"The National Government through the Department of Works and Highways will get an estimate and get the major truck road network restored," Mr Marape said.

The Prime Minister has also urged the Simbu Provincial Government and the affected districts to use the work machineries already there to clear up the debris that is blocking the road.

Landslip in Gumine District, Simbu Province (PM's Media)

"Let us not waste time and build those infrastructures destroyed. Public servants have been cut off, and roads and bridges must be restored so the people can access the main centres.

"We will mobilize the money for Gumine and Sol-Nomane roads. For Gembogl, we will use another K5 million on emergency roads and bridge restoration and clearance.

Prime Minister Marape also said the initial K100 million earmarked for disaster nationwide will be released soon.

He said the Simbu Provincial Government will give K5 million to help the three districts. Gumine and Karamui K2 million each whilst Chuave and Sinesine Yongumul K1 million each.

"The funds will be used to restore roads, schools, purchase medicines for those affected. Let's work together on this, and we will expedite the issuance of payments to the contractors and districts to restore the roads.

"A society is good and great when good people start doing little things to help themselves without waiting for others and the government to help.

"The people living along the corridors of those affected areas should allow the road to be opened.

"To avoid future disaster, let's live in areas where it's strong and cannot be affected and stop building homes in areas that will be destroyed by the disasters," said Prime Minister Marape.

The Simbu Provincial Government says it is looking at ensuring access to the affected areas, and the main road must remain open and also plan to get the technical engineers to estimate the cost to rebuild infrastructure like roads, bridges, and other facilities like clinics, that have been affected.

The District of Gumine is completely cut off and inaccessible by officials and needs the roads to be restored.

 The National Government has so far through the Works and Highways Department issued to contractors K20 million to connect the roads and infrastructure in Gumine District alone.

The Works Department estimates that the damages done are extensive and stands at K221million. And of that, Simbu is the worst affected with K72 million worth of damage to infrastructure.