The National, Wednesday 22nd Febuary 2012
A BUSINESSMAN from Western Highlands has called on the government to be more proactive in dealing with disasters.
Voicing concern over the Tumbi landslide in Komo, Hela, and the sinking of the mv Rabaul Queen off the Finschhafen coast, Morobe, Pius Nui said the government had to “wake up”.
He said the relevant government authorities had to look critically into and identify areas that were prone to disasters and to do groundwork to prevent disasters.
“Waiting until disasters happen is not right because disasters occur at any time,” he said.
Nui said in Mt Hagen, several schools and colleges, including the Highlands Agricultural Training College, were located near the airport and if an aircraft were to face problems during take-off and landing and crashed, hundreds would die.
He said there were deteriorating bridges and buildings which could collapse if there was a major earthquake.
Nui said the government employed workers to look into possible disaster areas but it had pump in sufficient funds to ensure that when natural disasters occurred, people could be helped quickly.
Nui, a former finance minister with the provincial government, said the ferry disaster would not have claimed so many lives if the government had functional search and rescue teams.
He said the government needed to be consistent in monitoring vessels on their seaworthiness and ensure operators did not overloading ships.
He said all work carried out on land, such as mining and construction, had to be checked to ensure they met national standards.
He urged the government to adequately fund the national disaster and emergency relief centre so it could be prepared to conduct prompt relief efforts for those affected by disasters.