26 Apr 2008

PNG government approves money for army call out

8:12 am on 26 April 2008

The Papua New Guinea government has approved 12 million US dollars for the call-out of the army to help reopen a highway blocked by a massive landslide in Simbu Province.

Following a meeting in Madang on Thursday, the National Executive Council declared a state of emergency and decided to call the defence force to help police deal with the issues affecting the Okuk Highway.

Heavy rain caused a massive landslide two weeks ago, blocking links with the Highlands region.

Our correspondent, Oseah Philemon, says the damage is extensive and costly but the government will spend the money because it is eager to reopen the road.

"The bulk of the money will go towards the actual work of clearing the highway. And then of course there are other related costs like security on the ground. That's going to be paid for out of the money."

Oseah Philemon says it could take a month for the highway to be cleared.