20 Nov 2007

Papua New Guinea says starvation and water borne diseases threaten thousands

11:32 am on 20 November 2007

Officials in Papua New Guinea say fears of starvation and sickness through waterborne diseases is increasing as rescue workers struggle to reach the thousands of people affected by a tropical cyclone.

A state of emergency has been declared in the flood-ravaged Oro Province following widespread destruction from tropical cyclone Guba.

Reports say more than 70 people died after being swept away.

PNG's cabinet has also approved the use of the PNG Defence Force for relief operations and around 16 million US dollars to assist flood victims.

A police spokesman, David Terry, says there are concerns there could be an epidemic of water borne diseases.

"That's why the health authorities here have contacted Port Moresby to send in medical drugs as quickly as possible so that in an event of an academic we are able to treat people with such diseases."