3 Sep 2009

PNG Minister blames officials for delay in call for state of emergency in Morobe

6:17 pm on 3 September 2009

The Papua New Guinea Health Minister has put off calling for a state of emergency over a disease outbreak in Morobe Province, and is blaming his officials for the delay.

The Minister had earlier announced he was seeking the National Executive Council's backing for the emergency directive, after the deaths of at least 87 people from cholera, influenza and dysentery over the past three weeks.

It is thought the death toll could climb while several thousand people continue to suffer in remote, inaccessible villages in Morobe.

Minister Sasa Zibe says his officials are lazy and failed to get him enough information to make his case to his Cabinet colleagues.

"I am thoroughly disappointed. I am not getting the type of information that is required for me to make an NEC submission.And that information is not forthcoming therefore I have to delay this segment of NEC. So I don't to put half baked information to NEC for their approval."

PNG Health Minister Sasa Zibe says he now expects to put the request to Cabinet next week.