13 Feb 2012

Concern of whitewash after PNG Tumbi landslide disaster

7:09 am on 13 February 2012

Concern has been raised about the potential for a whitewash over last month's Tumbi landslide in Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands.

The PNG Co-ordinator for the International State Crime Initiative and Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Ulster, Kristian Lasslett, says there needs to be a comprehensive investigation into the landslide which buried at least 25 people.

He fears that local concerns about the role of a quarry used by Exxon Mobil's liquefied natural gas project in the area of the landslide have been dismissed without proper scientific analysis.

Dr Lasslett says that the landslide can be compared to the ferry sinking disaster which happened the following week.

"In respect to the Rabaul Queen, we've seen the O'Neill government come out with a very robust response: they've order a commission of inquiry. But in the case of Tumbi, there has been no commission of inquiry and in fact all we have to date is a flimsy report that's been put out by the National Disaster Committee, full of schoolboy errors."

Kristian Lasslett