By JEFFREY ELAPA (The National)

CONTINUOUS rain and heavy flooding destroyed a school and a bridge in the Usino-Bundi district of Madang province last Wednesday night.
The Waput primary school, which is located near the Mea River, was destroyed after the river burst its banks and flooded the school.
A church and several houses were also destroyed while several domestic animals and cocoa trees were uprooted and swept away.
This reporter who visited the site was told that the heavy rain had started around 10pm on Wednesday and around 2am on Thursday, the river burst its bank and flooded the school before depositing debris at the SDA church grounds and several villages across the main Ramu-Madang highway.
According to villagers, a huge landslide took place at Mount Isiro where the Ramu Nickel mine’s receiver station is located.
They said the landslide, which was heard several kilometres away, sounded like thunder as the rocks and tree crashed down the mountain, forcing the debris to block the source of the Bea River and creating a huge dam.
The villagers said that the water then forced its way through and carried everything along the way, through the school, church and village.
Headmaster Moses Benjamin said that they were not aware of what was happening until they heard noises as huge logs bumped into their houses.
Mr Benjamin said when they came out to investigate, there was water everywhere, carrying huge logs, uprooted trees, mud and sand.
He described the water level as at hip height, and it carried away everything from the school including text books, desks and other properties toward the Ramu River.
Mr Benjamin said they lost many of their cooking utensils, water containers and other items in their houses but, fortunately, there was no loss of lives.
The huge logs and soil deposited along the highway were cleared by a private firm contracted by the Department of Works at Walium.
Teachers are expected to resume duty this week and normal classes are expected next week but Mr Benjamin said many of their properties were destroyed and therefore the school may start late.