Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Gulf mourns

From The National, Papua New Guinea’s leading daily newspaper


Governor Kavo points finger at Government


GULF Governor Havila Kavo yesterday blamed the poor condition of the Hiritano Highway for the horrific accident that claimed 17 lives and injured several others at the weekend.

Mr Kavo said the National Government should be held responsible for the poor state the highway was in.

He said the highway, which he described as a national asset, was littered with potholes, making driving from Port Moresby to Malalaua and vice-versa very dangerous.

He said thick shrubs and bushes had grown tall and onto the road, often obstructing the views of drivers and making it difficult to negotiate corners and give way to oncoming vehicles.

The governor held a press conference yesterday to announce that the Gulf province was mourning the loss of lives in the tragedy. Two PMV trucks collided near Bereina on Saturday, killing 17 people and leaving many more injured.

Mr Kavo said the provincial government would assist with the funeral costs and urged relatives and people of Gulf to also contribute at this time of mourning.

He expressed his sorrow at the loss of lives and added he had travelled to the crash site on Sunday.

He blamed the National Government for turning a blind eye to a “national asset”.

“The Government is pumping money into roads in Lae and the Highlands Highway while we have more than 300 lives lost so far of people trying to seek services in Port Moresby,” Mr Kavo said.

He said because of the poor road condition, people often resort to long boat trip in dangerous conditions, and only last week four people were lost at sea and a search was still continuing.

Meanwhile, eight people injured in the accident continue to battle for their lives at the Port Moresby General Hospital (POMGH).

The two doctors on duty,

Dr Posing Posanau and Dr Gary Nou, said yesterday that the number of reported deceased victims remained at 17.

Those injured include eight people who are in a critical state and another 13 who sustained multiple injuries, bringing to 21 the number of people admitted to the hospital.

Dr Posanau said he had certified another two bodies which where taken to the funeral home directly from the accident site, and there was a possibility that other bodies were also taken directly back to their villages after the accident.

So the total death toll could be higher, according to the senior medical officer and coordinator of the emergency unit, Dr Sam Yockpua.

Dr Nou said that Saturday night was quite chaotic, with family and relatives flooding into the emergency room.

But he commended the efforts of the health workers of the Bereina health centre whom he said did a brilliant job in ensuring that the patients’ injuries were prioritised and well taken care of, which made his job much easier when the casualties were brought to the POMGH and, most importantly, saved lives.

Police are investigating the cause of the accident.

Attempts to contact senior police officers in Port Moresby yesterday were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, POMGH also reported another road accident in Port Moresby that allegedly resulted from drunk driving during the early hours of Sunday morning.

A couple crashed their vehicle along Bava Street, but neither of them sustained any serious injuries.


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