16 Apr 2008

PNG Highlands hospitals face possible supplies shortages after landslide

9:00 pm on 16 April 2008

Hospitals in Papua New Guinea's Highlands region says they will run out of oxygen and fuel within days if government doesn't re-open a vital road.

Heavy rain caused a massive landslide on the weekend and the government has declared a natural disaster zone on the Okuk Highway in Simbu Province.

The landslide displaced displaced 3000 people, wrecking their homes and gardens.

The Mt Hagen Hospital Medical Services Director, Dr Michael Dokup, says many lives are at risk as hospitals are also affected by the landslip.

"It's not that very serious at the moment, but in the next few days we might have problems, so we have scaled down operations and we are only doing major emergency operations. The problems is that we cannot use oxygen unneccessarily, because if we have an emergency we might run out."

Dr Michael Dokup says fuel needed for the ambulance service is also scarce and medical supplies will run out within the next three weeks.

He says most hospitals in the area face the same problem.