26 Nov 2007

Flood victims getting aid but full assessment in PNG's Oro Province still to be done

8:14 pm on 26 November 2007

The disaster relief effort in the Oro province of Papua New Guinea will need to continue for some time yet

Much of the province was engulfed by flood waters two weeks ago, affecting more than 50-thousand people.

The official death toll is around 70, but local reports suggest it could be more than 200.

Jeffrey Philip, national coordinator for the PNG Red Cross response, says Australian Airforce Blackhawk helicopters are now being used in the effort, which is a huge help.

But he says organisations are still trying to identify needs, and coordinate relief

"None of the detail assessement has been done. We are only working on the rapid assessments on the helicopter from one spot to another, observing what's happened and what the extent f the damage is. So until have established information on the ground, we won't know exactly what vulnerable groups we have and what other needs."

Jeffrey Philip says the main focus for the PNG Red Cross is getting water and sanitation to the affected areas.


The French government is assisting the Oro Province flood victims by flying in two tonnes of aid.

A CASA military aircraft is to deliver the emergency supplies, including clothes, food and medication.


A woman who had been buried alive in a landslide caused by the flooding, walked for two days to get help.

Doctors say Dalin Oviro will need surgery but will recover from injuries she suffered in the landslide that killed her husband and four boys from the couple's village.

Mrs Oviro, speaking from her hospital bed in the provincial capital Popondetta, has told how she prayed as the huge landslide engulfed the group.

She says they had been walking upriver from their village when trees and tonnes of soil - waterlogged from days of torrential rain - came rushing down and swept the six of them away.

Dazed and badly hurt, she walked for two days, sleeping in the bush before staggering naked into her village and the arms of her family and five-year-old daughter.

She told reporters that she had had a very big pain in her body but was praying to the Lord to help her get home safely.