"We declare our first goal to be for every person to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination or oppression so that each man or woman will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others".

- Papua New Guinea National Goals and Directive Principles

Monday, 12 March 2012

When will a full investigation into Tumbi occur

The National, Monday 12th March 2012

THE PNG LNG Watch calls for a full-scale investigation into the cause of the Tumbi landslide in Hela province, believed to have killed at least 25 people.

The Red Cross has said the toll could be as high as 60 but, to date, reports indicate few, if any, bodies have been recovered.

The Hela community has started its own investigations, after waiting over a month for a government-flagged investigation to commence.

PNG’s treasurer and highlands leader, Don Polye, said he agreed with concerns raised, saying that the cause must be established through an investigation and he would discuss this with the prime minister.

This is in support of PNG LNG Watch, which has voiced concerns in international media, calling for an independent investigation.
Johnny Blades reported on Radio New Zealand that an NGO, which monitors the country’s major LNG gas project led by ExxonMobil, says pressure is still being applied on the developer by locals in Tumbi over the disaster.

Locals have blamed the landslide on the Tumbi quarry, which was used by ExxonMobil for its project and sits atop the massive landslide.
Stanley Mamu of LNG Watch has said that calls for compensation from the grieving Tumbi community may ultimately hinge on the outcome of an official inquiry.

He says that so far, the official response has been focused on clearing the main road, which was cut off.

Stanley Mamu also supports the call for an independent probe, saying that without it, they (families of victims) would not be able to claim compensation and it would be meaningless for companies to offer the killing of pigs if they claim they were not responsible.

According to him, the investigation team organised by the landow­ners are on the ground and will compile their report.

Tumbi landowners commissioned Tindipu Hapo to lead an investigating team, which includes local scientists.

He has indicated that techniques used by contractors operating quarries for ExxonMobil have come under scrutiny.

While they have not completed their tests, he believes the landslide is a manmade disaster and not likely to be naturally caused.
While the recent mv Rabaul Queen sinking has been accorded a full commission of inquiry, the government has been criticised for not doing enough to address the Tumbi incident.

Roy Amburi
PNG LNG Watch Association

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