30 Nov 2007

Many flood victims in PNG's Oro Province still to be reached by aid teams

6:32 pm on 30 November 2007

Relief efforts to flood-struck Oro province in Papua New Guinea are expected to have to continue for some time yet.

While an Australian led air lift of much needed supplies began a week ago, aid workers say many of the thousands of victims are yet to receive help.

The confirmed death toll is 164 but tens of thosuands of people are believed to be homeless, many still without food and clean water.

Bill Costello, from the Australian aid agency, AusAid, says the victims need the most basic items to survive.

"Our first priority right now is food. A number of people really haven't had food supplies for almost two weeks now. So we are trying to get them enough food to last them for a week. Water containers and water purification is another one, we are getting a lot of people getting sick. For those who've lost their homes, of course shelter."

Bill Costello says food gardens have been destroyed and food that's been stored is rotting.

The aid worker says it will take months before people will be able to start the daunting task to rebuild their homes, and for the economy to recover.