20 Nov 2007

PNG leader says death toll in flooded Oro Province could exceed 200

8:40 pm on 20 November 2007

Papua New Guinea's acting Prime Minister, Dr Puka Temu, says they have requested international assistance to help the thousands of victims of the Oro Province floods.

He says the Government has sent in the army and additional police while emergency supplies have been shipped from Lae.

Dr Temu says the confirmed death toll is now 83 but they fear it will soar.

"It is now moving up to two hundred because there were villagers that we couldn't locate, so now that the figures are coming in, it looks like we are looking at over 200 people that have died."

Meanwhile, Oro Governor Suckling Tamanabae says some victims will have gone without food, water and medicines for up to 9 days.

He says they need immediate help from the national government or international agencies.

A spokesman for the Oro Governor, David Terry, says continued bad weather is hampering relief efforts.

He says they are still waiting for port Moresby to bring in more supplies.

Unfortunately there's a big overcast over the ranges and I think that's prevented the flights from coming in... the helicopters we need.But hopefully the situation gets better tomorrow, so the provincial authorities and the people who are working on the ground in the relief operation will at least get some much-neede food and medicine to people affected by the flood.