Exxon Mobil landholders want re-settlement before another disaster occurs
From a special correspondent
The traditional landowners of the Tumbi quarry have called on both the Government and the Developer to immediately relocate the four major clans ( Ware, Pepe, Parakua and Imini) in a safe and secured agricultural land before they become the next people to be the victims of a landslide.
The leaders of the clans namely: Giya Hawi, Libe Hale, Tokoya Piwago, Wabe Ako, Abe Okopi, Tiki Halimbu, Tomo Warolo, Urupu Andawi, Wandipe Kau, Ekanda Timbabu, Timothy Nogobe, Ekawi Hale, Tiki Yuli, Peter Pamiari, Hiruba Yakapi, Tamita Malamu, Ekawi Tanda, Ako Tagirali, Tumbiyama Andigi, Eka Lawi, Nane Pipila, John Kuni, Pape Timbabu, Toya Komapuk, Tandali Kilip, Tabi Togola, Kula Potabe, Kupiawi Aluya, Daniel Huripa and Michael Kane told this reporter this afternoon from Tumbi village:
“We cannot look for land in another clan because they think that we are in the project area and have lots of money. People are not willing give us shelter, food, clothes, land and gardens because they think we are project landowners so we have lots of money. We are victimized by the so called Multi Million Kina project”. said Mr. Hibson Puma.
The Tumbi Quarry landowner Mr. Yogobo Piwago said, he had requested many times to the developer (Exxon Mobile) to resettle them before they work on the quarry but failed on deaf ears.
“We have been living on this land for the past 6000 years, this is the first time our mountain has killed us” said Mr. Timothy Nogobe. We therefore come to conclude that what triggered the event is the quarry and the use of Chemicals and Bombs to blast the quarry at the top of the mountain, this has changed the ground water (Tumbi and Tuku) for the rapid breakdown of the mountain Tumbi burrying alive more than 25 people. Our mountains in Hela namely ( Mount Tau-Parila, Uraga, Be-Tini, Ambua-Kelapo, Haliago and Ilu) has been tasted by earthquakes and intense rainfalls but never collapses like it did.
We support the LNG project but it must be done within laws of our country and respect the rights of the indigenous landowners and its environment. Our long journey to succesfully harvesting the benefits to our Gas depends on how well, the State and the Developer proactively and sensitively address this disaster with the victim and affected families within the Quarry Tumbi.
Mr. Hibson Puma also called on the PPC and PSC in Tari to use the Tari, Koroba and Margarima Police to provide security at the site and not hiring mobile squads from outside the Province as it is insulting to the immediate families of the deaths. We are not in war!, We need clean water, garden food, shelter and comfort. We do not need to see a high powered guns in this time of situation.
Meanwhile, other leaders of the Hela including member of Koroba Kobiago -John Kekeno and James Marabe of Tari-Pori/HTA chairman has called for a detailed investigation into the causes and triggers of the landslides and the safety and environmental practices of the developer in the daily newspapers last week.