30 Jan 2012

Fears of further landslides following Southern Highlands disaster

4:26 pm on 30 January 2012

There are concerns about the risk of further landslides in the Hides area of Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands following last week's disaster in Tumbi.

The number of people confirmed by international agencies such as Red Cross and Oxfam to have been buried in Tuesday's massive landslide has reached 25 and is expected to rise.

Many locals blame Exxon Mobil's liquefied natural gas project for the landslide, saying explosives used at the Tumbi quarry owned by the project unsettled the earth.

John Tamita of the regional NGO, Hela Community care, says a number of displaced people need to be resettled.

He says the risk of further destruction remains high while the terrain is unstable and the rainfall is high.

"It's very dangerous, very dangerous, and that's why people are making... with the advice from the company, police are making awareness, telling them to move out of the place. But then they cannot move to, because where would they go to? This question has not yet been answered. And how would they know that there's more flashes that will take place?"

John Tamita