Local media are reporting that at least 3 people have died as a result of heavy rain, floods and landslides in Papua New Guinea.
The country’s Post Courier says that at least 2 people have died in a landslide in Sigiwagi, Chimbu Province, where 200 homes were also damaged. It is feared that the death toll could rise as search for survivors is ongoing. Post Courier also report that one person has died and another injured in a landslide in Tambul-Nebilyer, Western Highlands Province.
The heavy rain, which has been falling since 12 February, comes after a long dry spell. According to WMO figures, 53 mm of rain was recorded in 24 hours in Port Moresby between 13 and 14 February. Local media say that flooding also destroyed bridges in Northern and West New Britain Provinces, in particular Ivule bridge that links Kimbe to Bialla and East New Britain. In the Highlands, the Waghi River is said to be overflowing in parts of Jiwaka Province.
Talking to Radio New Zealand, World Vision PNG response manager Bonie Belonio said disaster authorities and humanitarian organisations were scrambling to assess the extent of the damage so distribution of relief supplies could begin. He said he believed the rains may have taken many people by surprise after the long drought.
“We are completing the assessment stage and moving into a distribution of water containers, water purification tablets because I think that is what is needed at this point in time and then do a quick awareness raising and education to really ensure that the water that they drink are purified and treated.”
At least 6 people died in floods in Jiwaka province, Papua New Guinea, in late February 2015. In early February 2015, 2 people died after floods in Kimbe and across the province of West New Britain.