Local media in Papua New Guinea are reporting that heavy rain caused flooding and landslides over the weekend in Kimbe and across the province of West New Britain.
The flooding has damaged roads, bridges, homes and businesses, including a local shopping centre. The Post Courier report that the bridge connecting the provincial capital Kimbe with Hoskins has been destroyed in the floods. Blocked roads are likely to affect palm oil producers in the area.
Papua New Guinea’s Post Courier say that two people have been killed. One of the victims died in a landslide near a river. The other victim is thought to have been swept away by flood water.
As yet there has been no confirmation of the flood event by Papua New Guinea’s National Disaster Centre (NDC) in Port Moresby.
Floods in 2014
Almost 50,000 people were affected by flooding in Papua New Guinea in July last year, mostly in Southern Highlands and Gulf Province. West New Britain was hit by flooding in March 2014 when around 10,000 people were affected.
Areas in West New Britain have suffered from deforestation over the last few years, where hillsides have been cleared for palm oil production. Although no connection between the recent flooding and increased deforestation has been made by local observers, severe flood events have increased in several countries that have suffered similar deforestation over the last few years. Most recently floods in Indonesia, Argentina, Paraguay, Malaysia and Malawi have been blamed on increased deforestation.