10 Nov 2011

Grassroots people of PNG's Lae traumatised by violence

7:26 am on 10 November 2011

It's expected to take the people of the Papua New Guinea city of Lae a long time to recover from a weekend of extreme violence.

Clashes with squatters from Highlands areas erupted last Thursday after youths unsuccessfully sought to present a petition to the Morobe provincial governor calling for efforts to tackle lawlessness and the level of sexual assault on women.

At least nine people died in the rioting and hundreds of homes were destroyed, leaving about one-thousand people homeless.

Our correspondent in Lae says although things have settled down, tension remains high in the country's second biggest city.

Oseah Philemon says people are traumatised.

"Especially those who lost loved ones through the violence and also lost their homes and many personal belongings and these are grassroots people, most of them, and it's very, very painful on them and it's going to take a very long time for them to rebuild their lives. So it's not easy."

Our correspondent in Lae, Oseah Philemon.