16 Jan 2013

PNG's flooded Oro Province facing emergency situation

10:01 am on 16 January 2013

The Oro Provincial Administrator in Papua New Guinea says he believes the government needs to declare a state of emergency in the flood-affected area as soon as possible.

Owen Awaita says two weeks of continuous rain has left most villages under water, crops damaged, and fuel supplies running dangerously low, and warns it will get worse with another month of rain forecast.

Mr Awaita says thousands of people have relocated to higher ground and are living in make-shift tents.

He says it's hard for disaster relief officials to get out to those areas because flood damage has cut off key bridges.

He says a report is being sent to the National Disaster Office, and believes the government has to declare an emergency to enable relief services to flow quickly.

"It has come to a point where we are bound to have a lot more chaos and problems particularly with the feed for the village people and the services. It's very serious at the moment, we've just about exhausted what we can do to scratch out. We need the national government and also other funding sources to assist."

Owen Awaita says a lack of access means there are less than two days of fuel left to run critical services, like hospitals.