22 Nov 2007

Governor in flood hit PNG province says aid is too slow arriving

8:22 pm on 22 November 2007

The governor of Papua New Guinea's Oro Province, says promised assistance is taking too long to reach the flood hit region.

The death toll from the floods is now put at more than 160.

Suckling Tamanabae, says on Wednesday he visited the graves of 11 people who had died of starvation, and he fears more will perish unless the delivery of aid is speeded up.

While national and international assistance has been committed, Mr Tamanabae says his administraton has access to a single helicopter with which to get relief to the flood victims spread across the large province.

"We have called on the National Government to act fast and quickly but they are still very slow in their coming, and I have asked them if they can call upon assistance from other international agencies to come and help. I think slowly they are getting their act together but sad to say people are already dying and things have not gotten here yet."

Suckling Tamanbae.

Meawhile the aid is beginning to arrive.

Australia is to provide up to one million dollars in humanitarian assistance.

Two Air Force Hercules carrying relief stores are being sent, along with two Caribou transport planes.

Another Caribou and three Army Blackhawk helicopters will join the effort on Friday.

A Navy heavy landing craft has been placed on short notice to sail from Cairns if required by the PNG Government.

The aid includes, water purification tablets and water containers, emergency shelters, blankets and generators.

AusAID has also been carrying out its own assessment mission by helicopter to report on damage to infrastructure and priority relief needs.