PNG

Papua New Guinea - Landslide OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Ref. OCHA/GVA - 2003/0058
OCHA Situation Report No. 1
Papua New Guinea - Landslide
Occurred 2 May, 2003

The following information was provided by the National Disaster Management Office in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, through the OCHA Office of the Regional Disaster Response Adviser for the Pacific in Fiji.

I. BACKGROUND

1.The Southern Highlands province is located south of Enga, Western Highlands and Simbu provinces at an average altitude some 1500 meters above sea level. It consists of eight census divisions called Ialibu-Pangia, Imbongu, Kagua-Erave, Komo-Magarima, Koroba-Kupiaggo, Mendi, Nipa-Kutubu and Tari-Pori with the administrative center in Mendi located at an altitude of 1,400 m above sea level.

2. Because of the high topographic features and possible unsustainable land use practices, landslides have become very common in the province. Heavy landslides are usually more common during rainy periods, which in the past, have caused some of the worst landslides in the region. During April 1999, a landslide in Imbongu District caused an estimated damage amounting to K 150,000 (USD 43,228)

II. SITUATION AND DAMAGE

3. On Friday 2 May 2003, heavy rainfall triggered a landslide at the rear of the western bank of the Tagali River 15 metres away from the entrance of a hut where people including women and children were sheltering from the heavy rain. Situated on the Western bank of the river are a mini-market, a snooker house with a trade store, a hut (in which the victims were sheltering) and a tyre repair shop.

4. As of Sunday 3 May, 13 people have been confirmed dead, and of the 21 injured, 3 are in serious condition. Those seriously injured were transferred from Tari to Paiam by helicopter.

III. RESPONSE

5. The Minister for Inter-Government Relations, and Disaster Management, Sir Peter Barter visited the area on Monday 5 May. The National Disaster Management Office decided that an assessment team was not needed at the scene, as the situation was limited in scale and already under control. A Police Mobile Squad Unit and the PNG Defence Force personnel based in the province were despatched to the scene and they brought the situation under control.

6. Oil Search Limited (OSL) operations in the area was mobilised by the Tari Police Post. OSL provided the bulk of the assistances including retrieving and airlifting of the injured to the hospital. They also maintained that they will provide material (e.g. cement, roofing irons, timbers, nails, canvas) and any other materials needed for construction of coffins and customary mini-houses that are erected in honour of the dead.

7. The Government of Papua New Guinea has not asked for international assistance. The NDMO has suggested that it needs support to provide more awareness on landslide risk.

8. OCHA is monitoring the situation through the OCHA Office of the Regional Disaster Response Adviser for the Pacific. Unless there are unforeseen developments, this is the last situation report on this disaster.

9. This situation report, together with information on other ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int

MAP - Papua New Guinea: Landslide - Location Map

Telephone:+41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
E-mail: ochagva@un.org

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:
Mr. R. M=FCller / Mr. S Nakajima
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 31 31 / 40 34

Press contact:
(in GVA) - Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, Direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(in NY) - Ms. Stephanie Bunker, Direct Tel. +1-212-963 87 40

Disclaimer

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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