BY ROBERT TIKI
More than 5000 villagersin Anglimp-South Waghi, Jiwaka, vow to boycott the National Election over the Government’s lack of response to their cry for help
Severe storms and flash floods have become an election issue in the Anglimp-South Waghi District of Jiwaka Province.
More than 5000 people near the raging Tuman River vowed last Friday to boycott the 2017 National Election because of the lack of action by the National Government to address their call for help since 2013.
The flood victims at Bunum village near Kindeng Market vowed not to take part in the election as they were hit once more by wild weather and an untamed river, a tributary of Waghi River.
Further north, in North Waghi, their neighbours are still battling to come to terms with the detection of the destructive coffee berry borer (CBB( in at least 10 locations near Banz (see story, page 4).
Bunum village community leader Mark Malt said they had been waiting in vain for Government assistance for five years since the Tuman River changed it’s course and ran through their village, destroying their homes, properties, food gardens and domestic animals.
Mr Malt said fortunately, no lives were lost but the people deserted their village en masse and took refuge with other neighbouring tribes because the river had become a serious threat.
Heavy rain that had already fallen in Jiwaka Province has seen thousands of people cut off, and evacuation made by the people themselves to higher grounds.
In the latest floods, the unpredictable Tuman River washed away 300 metres of the Kindeng-Kondopina Highway, completely cutting off access with more than 50,000 people of Dei district, Western Highlands Province, and North Waghi who depend on this road.
Mr Malt said that their lives have been affected for more than four years and remained unchanged because of the lack of Government intervention.
He said the villagers have raised the issue with authorities in the province but their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.
“We were crying for help but nobody is helping us, thus we will not take part in the National Election because it has no meaning to us.
“It is just a plain waste of time to vote for any leader because we do not feel wanted by our parliamentarians in the province,” he added.
The National Weather Service had warned that nationwide storms with heavy rainfall and rough seas are expected to continue this month.
Mr Malt said that villagers would appreciate that in times of rain authorities issue flood warnings for rivers, including Tuman, and evacuation orders issued coupled with the complementing relief supplies.