Severe floods affecting 9 local level government areas in Papua New Guinea have left more than 60 000 people homeless over the past few weeks, said Gulf Province governor Chris Haiveta.
Haiveta also mentioned that although the province is not new to flooding, this particular event is one of the biggest floods they had experienced in around 30 years.
"The extent of this flood is one of the biggest I have seen in a long, long time. It has affected nine local level governments, which included Moripi, Toaripi, Taure Lakekamu, Malalaua Urban, Kaipi Melaripi, Kerema Urban, Ihu East, Ihu West, and Baimuru."
"So approximately, over 60 000 people have been affected," he remarked.
The provincial disaster office and administration are conducting assessments and will accomplish them as soon as the flood subsides, he added.
The governor also expressed his gratitude toward Prime Minister James Marape for allocating around 88 000 dollars or 300 000 kinas for immediate relief assistance.
The funds will be used to provide shelter, food, and clean water for the affected people during the disaster response's initial period. The province will also coordinate with the diaster office at the provincial COVID-19 command center.
"The most challenging part [of disaster relief] will begin when the water recedes, as there will be plenty of mosquitoes, flies and waterborne diseases."
Widespread flooding has left the province more susceptible to coronavirus, he noted. With communities still struggling with the difficulties of the two-month state of emergency due to the pandemic, the inundations made the situation worse for homeless people.
A local and community leader named Samuel Miaea called the situation a double disaster. "I, as a leader of the community, have felt disaster to my people," he said, asking the government about plans.
"We need all the help we can get at this time," the governor stated.
Featured image credit: Samuel Miaea