Road repairs to cost millions

Wednesday April 04, 2018 Written by Published in Regional

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – The earthquake repair bill for roads in Papua New Guinea’s Enga, Southern Highlands and Hela provinces is expected to be more than US$12 million, according to PNG’s Works Secretary David Wereh.

 

Wereh said major feeder roads in the provinces were badly damaged, including the Highlands Highway.

Wereh said a number of sections of the trans-national highway had been damaged and completely destroyed after February’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake, resulting in the highway closing down.

He said assessments were made and a cabinet submission drawn up with an estimated cost breakdown for restoration work coming to around $12.4 million.

Last week Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told Parliament total commitments towards the earthquake recovery stood at around $15.5 million.

A landowner in Papua New Guinea’s Hela province says the government’s relief response to the major Highlands earthquake has been too slow.

The earthquake along with subsequent landslides and aftershocks, caused major destruction in the region around Hela.

At least 125 deaths have been reported, as well as widespread damage to infrastructure and buildings in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces.

A landowner from Hides, Andy Hamaga, said even though disrupted transport links have hampered assessment and relief efforts, help should have come quicker.

“Restoration is taking at snail’s pace, it’s too slow. And the food rations are not being given as expected,” he said.

“Millions of kina in foreign aid was given but so far my people are telling me there’s nothing to show for it on the ground.”

He explained that local people were desperately in need after the earthquake destroyed staple food sources.

“All food gardens were destroyed, and fresh water that they depend on for consumption were all destroyed. There’s no clean water at the moment,” he said.

Hamaga said national disaster teams appear to have not been given adequate support from the government in order to do the job.

  Even though Hides landowners have in the past criticised the major LNG gas project which is operated by the two companies in the area, they were noting significant efforts by the developers to assist since the quake.

            - RNZI

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