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PNG: World Vision Flies In Aid For Flood Victims

PNG: World Vision Flies In Aid For Stricken Flood Victims

World Vision will today fly in emergency relief supplies to Madang Province after heavy flooding left villagers hungry and naked.

World Vision PNG national director and New Zealander Paul Martell said today the floods had hit communities already malnourished because up until now it had been an exceptionally dry year.

"These are very vulnerable people. They have been forced to go down river and salvage root crops washed downstream," he said.

Heavy rainfall last month caused landslides which blocked already swollen rivers. These soil dams eventually burst washing large volumes of silt down river valleys at high pressure. The flooding destroyed dozens of homes and hundreds of family gardens. About 2,000 people are thought to be affected in the province, which is about 1 hours flying time north of Port Moresby.

Mr Martell said most families were able to flee to higher ground but two elderly people are believed to have died during the crisis.

He said most children sleep naked and had not had time to recover their clothes before waters swept away their homes.

"The kids are shivering all the time because of the constant rain," he said.

In addition to flying in supplies of blankets, jerry-cans, tarpaulins and tools to re-establish gardens, World Vision plans to buy bales of second-hand clothes in Madang today to clothe naked children.

Mr Martell said he hoped the government of PNG would declare Madang an emergency thereby releasing funds from foreign governments to buy food aid.

He said World Vision was well placed to distribute food with a staff of 21 already based in Madang.

He said the agency would seek further funding to rehabilitate agriculture, water supplies and latrines.

ENDS

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