11 Jul 2003

Dozens die in PNG measles and flu epidemics

3:54 pm on 11 July 2003

The Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea says more than 100 people in a remote area of the Gulf province have died as a result of a massive outbreak of measles and influenza.

The administrator of Kerema Catholic diocese, Brother Sabian Misili, has told the National newspaper that the diseases have claimed the lives of 60 adults and 51 children in the Kotidanga sub-district since April.

Brother Sabian says more than 800 people are also affected in surrounding areas.

He says Health Department officers are not on site assisting the Catholic workers.

Kerema MP Ekis Ropenu is travelling to the area at the weekend to assess the situation.

Mr Ropenu's office says the health minister has also been notified to assist with transporting medical supplies.