21 Nov 2007

Help begins to arrive for thousands trapped by flood waters in PNG's Oro Province

2:32 pm on 21 November 2007

Relief supplies are arriving in Papua New Guinea's Oro Province as authorities struggle to cope with flooding that has already claimed dozens of lives.

The death toll from the disaster is now put at 153 with government estimates that it will exceed 200.

A police spokesman, David Terry, says with the communication and transport infrastructure still hampered by the flood waters it is difficult to give an accurate figure.

He says officials have not had contact with large parts of the province since the rain started a week ago.


But he says the waters are beginning to subside.

"We are having intermittent rains in parts of the province. So in some areas the water is subsiding and in other areas there is still flooding. But the entire province is affected and that is why at this point in time we really need to get in much needed supplies like water, medicines and shelter for the people affected."

David Terry says air drops of food began yesterday.

He says Defence Force personnel are now in the provincial capital, Popondetta, but their efforts to start distributing aid are being held up by lack of access to the port.