Government fails to respond to victims of Maewo landslide

Victims of last month’s landslide on the island of Maewo are still waiting for help from the Government.

The Senior Laboratory Officer for the Department of Livestock, Kaltuk Kalomor, says the national Government has not responded with aid to the victims since the serious landslide in early September that caused wide spread damage to homes and food gardens.

“Since the landslide, there has not been a rapid assessment done by the area administrator or the National Disaster Management Office’s officer on the island,” Mr Kalomor said.

“It is sad to see that people are still waiting for the Government’s support.”

Mr Kalomor says while waiting for the Government to respond, the victims have had to find food and cover expenses without help and have been forced to dig up buried root crops from their gardens and buy 25 kilogram bags of rice from a ship that went to Maewo at the time of the disaster. Without that ship, villagers would have had nothing to eat.

The National Disaster Management Office’s Provincial Liaison Officer, Philip Meto, says a rapid assessment submitted by Mr Kalomor to the National Disaster Management Office, was passed on to the Penama Provincial Government for action.

The Secretary General from Penama Province, Kelly Tabi, claims responsibility for the lack of response rests with the Maewo area council who Mr Tabi says, should have reported the situation to the province first and then to the National Disaster Management Office.

“We will sit down this week to discuss the issue,” Mr Tabi said.

He says the community will first have to get support from the area council through a community disaster coordination process. Then the Penama Provincial Government will come in to respond to the victims.

Mr Tabi says if the Penema Provincial Government does not respond, the National Disaster Management Office will need to step in.

The bureaucratic buck passing is not helping the local community in Mangiri village in south Maewo who lost almost everything in flooding and a landslide caused by heavy rain. Around 102 people were affected.

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