1 Mar 2012

PNG Highlands Highway cleared after landslide but local greivances remain

8:12 pm on 1 March 2012

The section of Papua New Guinea's Highlands Highway cut off by January's Tumbi landslide has been cleared despite concerns within the local community.

The disaster is believed to have killed at least 25 people and left a major obstacle to Exxon Mobil's liquefied natural gas project which is centred in the area.

Stanley Mamu of LNG Watch says the response of government and developer has so far focussed on clearing the road.

He says the families of the victims and other locals were reluctant to allow the road to be cleared until their grievances had been addressed.

"This opening of the road doesn't mean that they are happy with the project and the project needs to operate but it is just for the service to Komo people because there's about ten to twenty thousand people living back at Komo area and they access that road. So because of the pressure from those people for their transport, the road's been cleared."

Stanley Mamu has received reports that Exxon Mobil has paid locals to allow the site to be cleared.