‘We have no clean drinking water’ in quake hit area, says volunteer

An empty Tuffa water tank floats on the Kamininimbit River
An empty Tuffa water tank floats on the Kamininimbit River in East Sepik, Image: PNG Post-Courier

By Phoebe Gwangilo

Sepik villagers hit by Papua New Guinea’s earthquake flooding are desperate for clean water, says local volunteer Charles Marlow

“Since the flood, the main Sepik River we have been drinking from is not safe anymore, evidence of faeces is seen floating on the water,” Marlow told the PNG Post-Courier.

“When the earthquake struck on Monday, most tanks of most houses in the Sepik River area burst.

“Right now, I can say people are going hungry, food has become scarce and we no longer have access to safer water source to drink from,” Marlow said in an interview.

“I live in Pagwi area. Today I went by boat to three nearby villages and returned. I spoke to the people and did my own assessment on the situation as a volunteer.

“People are in desperate need of food and drinking water.

“They cannot harvest sago or food from the gardens, everything has been destroyed by the high tide from the main Sepik River which has covered the nearby inlands where sago and other garden produce are harvested from.

Houses collapsed
“From Pagwi, I went to Savanaut then to Yenjimangua and Naurange villages.

“In Yenjimangua seven houses collapsed and in Niaurange eight houses altogether sank into the water.

“No casualty from the earthquake was reported from those three villages but there are deaths I heard in other villages I did not visit,” he said.

East Sepik Provincial Administrator Samson Torovi said the 28 local level governments in areas affected by flood have been allocated relief funding as of yesterday.

“The LLG presidents of our 28 local level governments have resolved to use the K200,000 (about NZ$88,000) provincial support to immediately supply food stuff, canvas and relief supplies to our people,” Torovi said.

“The East Sepik Provincial Disaster Management team will draw down on its internal revenue allocation of K200,000 in this year’s budget to commence mobilisation of relief work at the provincial level.”

Phoebe Gwangilo is a PNG Post-Courier reporter. Republished with with permission.

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