A newspaper report on the ongoing water issues at the Salamaua High School, in the Huon Gulf District, Morobe Province prompted the Ombudsman Commission to initiate an investigation and has resulted in the school now receiving attention and financial support from the authorities not only for the water supply but for other infrastructural developments in the school.
The National newspaper reported that the Salamaua High School has been without water supply for 15 years. This has caused the school to shorten its classes to only six hours to allow for the student and staff to go out to the nearby creeks to attend to their daily water needs.
During the investigation, the Chief Ombudsman Mr Richard Pagen invited officials from the Morobe Provincial Administration, the Huon Gulf District Development Authority and the Provincial Health and Education Managers to accompany the Ombudsman Commission to visit Salamaua High School and also to inspect the Laukanu Aid Post, which is alleged to have no Health Worker on the ground and is an ongoing case in the same area.
During investigations, the Commission also found out about other aspects within the school that needed immediate attention from the authorities. These included:
- Salamaua High School’s Water Supply
- Salamaua High School’s Staff Accommodation
- Salamaua High School’s Dormitories
- Salamaua High School’s Gen-Set
- Salamaua High School’s messing facilities
- Laukanu Aid Post which is an ongoing investigation case.
After the visit, the Huon Gulf DDA was directed to carry out a proper feasibility study on the water supply and how best consistent water supply to the school can be restored. The DDA was also directed to immediately attend to the other issues identified as well. It was also revealed that the school was recently elevated to the status of a secondary school and thus needed new teachers, new teachers’ accommodation, and more classrooms and dormitories for students. The DDA was directed to complete these projects before the school year started in 2023.
The Commission also found out that a project carried out in 2022 for the upgrading of the school’s burnt-down dormitories was of substandard quality and the DDA needed to engage the Works Department to carry out a proper valuation of the infrastructure before further works could be carried out to complete the project.
Through the intervention of the Commission, the Huon-Gulf DDA has endeavoured to implement the Commission’s directives which resulted in;
- The Member for Huon-Gulf giving funding of K300,000 to Salamaua High School in February 2023 and;
- The Morobe Provincial Administration funding an additional K200, 000.00 to the school.
The Provincial Administrator Max Bruten on 14 April 2023 during the presentation of the K200, 00.00 cheque pledged his further assistance to Salamaua High School to purchase a much-needed asset for the school, a generator. The generator will cost about K60, 000.00 and Mr Bruten has advised the school to collect quotations and submit them as soon as possible for the purchase of the generator.
Also present at the event was the Member of Huon Gulf and Chairman of the Huon Gulf DDA Hon. Jason Peter who made an undertaking to commence building a new Health facility for Salamaua by 2027 in response to the request by the Commission. The Health Center will be constructed on Lot 69 and closer to the school.
Overall, Chief Ombudsman on behalf of the Morobe Provincial Administration presented the Cheque of K200, 000.00 to the Salamaua High Board Chairman, Mr. Julius Awa.
The presentation of the cheque was witnessed by Mr Max Bruten, Morobe Provincial Administrator; Salamaua High School Principal Mr Norman Apul; members of the delegate; teachers and their families as well as locals from the surrounding communities.