It was with a heavy heart when we flew into the Land slide disaster zone in Saki, Goilala on the eve of new year.
The weather was terrible with heavy rain and clouds right down to the tree tops.
The Bell 212 flown by Captain Sam Onno, fully loaded with rescue equipment and food crept in through to the landing pad only a few meters in diameter and cut out on the side of a hill at a elevation of around 4000 ft above sea level.
I looked ahead of me and saw a group of my people even children braving the rain to see what this great machine was about to deliver to this beautiful but yet very hash area that had just claimed 15 lives only a few days ago.
This was no village in Goilala but an alluvial gold mining camp that brought people from all over Goilala with the prospect of making it rich from mining gold in a very traditional way.
The day started early with the Provincial Administrator, Francis Koaba, and his team procuring the final additional tools that we needed up at the disaster area to assist and speed up the excavation of those who had died.
We picked up additional water pumps, hoses, generators, coffins, body bags and food for the trip. When we landed the Minister and Member for Goilala, William Samb, was on the ground. He had spent two nights with the grieving families while I organised the rest with the DDA and our provincial team.
Out of the 15 suspected victims, three were discovered yesterday. Five more were found today including a mother still hugging her baby as if they were in deep sleep.
Our plans for tomorrow in the new year is to start repatriation of the deceased as the body’s are starting to decay.
If all goes well we should have all the bodies that have been found repatriated to their homes and families for a proper funeral.
On behalf of the Central Provincial Government, I want to thank the Minister and Member for Goilala Hon William Samb and his DDA team, our PA Francis Koaba and our Provincial Disaster team, Central Police, Captain Sam Onno and the Helifix team for dropping every thing and giving priority to assist with this disaster.
Our search is continuing and we pray that those that perished and are still missing be found soon and return to their loved ones.
*Facebook post on the 31st of December by Robert Agarobe, Governor of Central Province.