27 Nov 2007

Aid officials in PNG's Oro Province focus on disease prevention among homeless

8:33 am on 27 November 2007

The focus in flood battered Oro Province in Papua New Guinea is now on disease prevention among the estimated 53 thousand people still homeless.

The provincial government puts the unofficial death toll from the flooding two weeks ago at 214 with 44 people still unaccounted for.

Since the weekend a major airlift of relief supplies headed by the Australian Air force has been underway, lessening concerns about people starving to death.

But the Australian High Commissioner to PNG, Chris Moraitis, says the emphasis is now on ensuring there is no major outbreak of disease.

"With a lot of water around there is capacity for water borne diseases to take hold in the province and the Health Department of PNG with assistance from donors, such as Australia, is keeping a very close eye on the health situation because the last thing we want is any outbreak of diseases such as dysentery or malaria, But at this stage there is no indication of any significant problem in that score."