Potholes along Eighth Street, Lae
A satirical look at Port Moresby and Lae.-From Nasfund Newsletter
Rundown Angau Memorial Hospital, Lae
From Nasfund Newsletter
Our media both print and television also suffers from the same Moresby bias.
Even this newsletter can be rightly criticised for being too focused on
The editorial this month is both sobering and alarming.
It talks about a city in crisis.
It has the largest port facilities and is the gateway to the
The Lae gateway and the
The Lae of today suffers from neglect and lack of decisive political leadership due to the inability to work together.
Never have we witnessed such a steady decline of a city than that of Lae.
The heart beat of industry still hums, private sector endures but the decline of infrastructure like roads, water, power and the vital support facilities like the Angau hospital underlie a very serious tale of woe.
The management of Lae city is in a sorry state with a failure to allocate scarce resources in priority areas of road and utility infrastructure.
Political leaders in power prefer the relatively more-lucrative and workable capital of Waigani and when in Lae take refuge in Lae’s “green zone” – two or three comfortable establishments where in air-conditioned comfort; their minders can praise them for their initiatives and tell them what they want to hear over glasses of red wine and cold beer. Outside the green zone a totally different world emerges that should shake the conscience of any one who cares for the city.
Sex workers desperate to etch out a living, bob up and down between the containers that have overflowed on to the old landing strip near town.
If not there, then they can be found under the verandah of Nasfund Haus directly across from the green zone, where lucrative pickings can be! had, from well-heeled hotel guests.
HIV is rife, as it is along the highway right through to the
A recent HIV test of workers at one facility found three out of 15 infected.
Young schoolies, whose parents have little, skip classes to join the sex worker throng to buy basics like clothes, food and soap.
Many do it just to ensure they can pay their school fees.
A sophisticated network through mobile phones co ordinate the sex workers with their clients along the
Through mobile communication, tastes of the clients can be ascertained - whether they use condoms or not, their likes and dislikes, violent, kind or generous – all can be exchanged as part of the workings of this highly visible trade.
Exacerbated by the huge urban drift from the
Crime is made easy by the collapse in the road system. Not a stretch of road in Lae can be found without potholes, some so deep as to make sections of road impassable.
The two entrances to Lae look more like rural tracks than proud entry points to our second biggest and in some ways our most important city.
The dreadful state of the roads is compounded by the recent “gone missing” of millions allocated to repair a portion of the road system.
The poor state of the roads means that drivers are easy pickings for roadside criminals and ensures that security companies will continue to maintain dominance of the major roads even if it is just to ensure that access to the airport remains unimpeded
Over the last few months security of supply of water and power have both become serious issues.
Water was recently out for three weeks and power remains intermittent.
Once again it begs the question how this has been allowed to develop in what is our manufacturing hub and gateway.
But what is both depressing and beggar’s belief is the cholera camp on the front lawns of
Forget the appalling condition of Angau Hospital for a minute; the lack of facilities to treat what in the West would be basic matters; forget the run down wards; or the desperation on the face of women trying to get treatment for breast and cervical cancer. Forget the collapsing hospital infrastructure or the piles of surgical rubbish dumped on a makeshift bonfire to the left of the building.
Let’s just focus on the front lawns - a collection of make shift latrines and tents, a few iron beds in the middle of the lawns and untied black plastic which has failed to hide the camp from road side visibility now flapping in the breeze.
Adults and children lying in tents getting treated for a disease that should not be in Papua New Guinea and certainly not in our second largest city.
Visibility from a major road of those suffering shows how little we respect their privacy and their dignity.
A government cheque for K3 million that was release bounced and so very little has occurred except through assistance from AusAID and other donors.
A government that has pledged K13 million to assist in the cholera outbreak, and still to this day not released anything is a national shame beyond comprehension.
In November, the National government announced its 2050 vision of a people happy and prosperous.
One could possibly not but support such an initiative.
However for the long-suffering people of Lae, they desperately cannot wait 40 years to secure and share that vision.
They need a plan for 2010 - one that delivers better roads, safer and secure water supplies, consistent electricity and major upgrades in the area of health and education.
To continue to ignore Lae, as has been done, is a blight on the nation and corrosive to the collective soul.
Will someone please come forward?