24 Mar 2004

PNG's Madang province hit by serious flooding

10:14 am on 24 March 2004

Ten days of torrential rain in Papua New Guinea's Madang province has swept away hundreds of houses in the Ramu Valley, taking out bridges cutting the city of Madang off from the rest of the country.

Sir Peter Barter, the Minister for Inter Government Relations, who has a tourism business in Madang, surveyed the devastation from his helicopter.

He says the region has had astronomical amounts of rain.

"All the sides of the mountain have been swept down into the valley below and the trees and the vegetation have all gone down with it. There are literally thousand and thousands of really large trees have gone down into the valley."

Sir Peter Barter says the region where which has suffered the worst is sparsely populated, but he thinks up to a thousand people may have been made homeless.

And he says the flooding has also left most of Madang without electricity after power pylons collapsed.