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PM O'Neill Condemns Attempt by Sir Mekere to Politicise Disaster Relief Operations

The Prime Minister,  Peter O’Neill  has condemned attempts by the Member for Moresby North-West to politicise disaster relief operations currently underway.

The Prime Minister said Sir Mekere Morauta should be ashamed of himself after making incorrect claims about disaster relief operations following the Highlands Earthquake

“What is the matter with this man that he would blatantly try to play political games in the middle of a natural disaster relief operation,” the Prime Minister said.

“Now is not the time for cheap politics, now is the time when the people of our Nation need solidarity and hard work from their political leaders.

“He is ill-informed and has no idea of the situation on the ground in the Highlands.

“This is an unprecedented disaster affecting a vast area with many remote communities.

“The Government response has been measured and timely, drawing in the resources of the Government working alongside the business community, churches and partner countries.

“We will not go into the failings of his administration and inept response to critical situations twenty years ago.

“Parliament will be recalled and he can use this opportunity to debate, but for now he should step up and make a contribution to disaster efforts.”

The Prime Minister said the focus of the Government is to maintain relief operations and continue to restore services in the disaster area.

“Over the past 24 hours additional food and water supplies have been delivered to Mt Hagen for distribution throughout the disaster area, mostly by helicopter.

“Trucks have also reached Tari, and the Provincial Authority has containers of food which are being delivered by church groups working with our disciplined services.

“Further attention is now being given to the establishment of water purification facilities so as to reduce demand for bottled water.

“The Government has allocated an initial 2 million Kina to areas worst hit by the earthquake, and another 1 million Kina to areas that had other damage to infrastructure.

“The restoration of normalcy and basic services is the priority of the National Government

“Our disaster officials are on the ground to ensure much need help is reaching the affected people.

“I am also very thankful for the Australian government for allowing their Australian Defence Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and CH-47 Chinook helicopters to load and uplift relief supplies for remote areas. The PNG Defence Force does not have these aircraft and we are grateful for that help.
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