9 Mar 2004

Flood in PNG's western highlands forces mass evacuation

1:10 pm on 9 March 2004

Floodwaters have destroyed homes and food gardens and forced the evacuation of more than ten thousand people in Papua New Guinea's Western Highlands.

Heavy rain which has pounded the region for the last two weeks has caused many rivers to rise, drowning livestock, destroying tea and coffee plantations and washing away parts of the Highlands Highway.

Tankers carrying urgently needed supplies of diesel have been stranded in Kundiawa, in Chimbu province, after floodwaters damaged a bridge and effectively closed the highway to heavy traffic.

The National newspaper says it's expected to be several days before the road can be repaired.