Four years after Cyclone Guba devastated Oro Province in Papua New Guinea, torrential rain and floods attributed to the La Nina climate phenomenon have once again brought grief to village communities.
Villagers are facing food shortages, loss of fresh water supplies and disease, such as diarrhoea and malaria.
Extreme rainfall since September last year has affected 11,000 people in the province, with communities along the major Mamba, Gira and Eia rivers and in the vicinity of Kokoda and Oro Bay the worst affected.
The Kumusi, Diwune, Eroro, Sambogo, Embogo and Girua rivers have also been in flood.
Siai village, home to 300-400 Aeka people and situated close to the banks of the Kumusi River, was washed away during Cyclone Guba in 2007. After being displaced for two years, villagers returned to rebuild their homes adjacent to the river in 2009.
According to Alphonse Kubiri, Elder of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Siai, the river broke its banks five months ago and constant torrential downpours into the new year have resulted in the worst flooding he has seen since 2007.
"When I was a child, I never experienced rain like this untilnow," Kubiri said, "This is really extreme.
"I have never seen raining and flooding like this before. Since last year, it has been flooding every day and there is no sign that the weather is changing."
While this time the people of Siai have remained in their homes and there have been no casualties to date, the village's only source of fresh water, a natural spring, has been unusable since the rising river contaminated it with mud and detritus.
Now the villagers are collecting water in plastic buckets and cooking pots, but the amount captured only lasts for one day.
"We badly need water tanks," said a village resident, John Huw. "No one has come yet to help with the water."
Long-term water storage is urgently needed by the community to protect against the impact of future natural disasters.
The swollen river has also drowned food gardens, destroying crops of pumpkin, kaukau, banana and taro.
Waterlogged fruit and vegetables have rotted quickly in the high tropical heat and humidity.
"People are just surviving on sago and bananas," said Kubiri.
"There are some types of bananas that grow very tall and are not affected by flooding."
"We are living on bananas," Huw confirmed. "Sometimes we do not have enough food to eat."
Flooding has also damaged firewood used for cooking, while lack of clean water and spoiled crops have led to an increased incidence of diarrhoea.
The Oro Provincial Disaster Centre has been delivering food to affected communities in the province.
According to the PNG Red Cross, which is co-ordinating emergency relief, people are in need offood, fresh water, mosquito nets, water containers, hygiene kits and shelter.
Meanwhile in the wake of the devastating landslide on January 24 which engulfed two villages near Tari in the Southern Highlands, and where 25 people are still missing, the Government announced this week that it would be allocating 30 million kina ($16.7 million) to fund disaster relief and rebuilding programmes across Oro, Hela, Morobe and Central provinces, the regions most badly affected by floods and landslides.
The La Nina effect
* La Nina weather is characterised by a decrease in seawater temperature in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean which induces intensified rain and cyclone activity in the southwest Pacific.
* The last La Nina pattern, which developed in mid-2010 and grew in strength in 2011, was associated with the Queensland flood disaster in Australia and tropical cyclones Vania, Yasi and Atu in the Pacific Islands last year.
* The World Meteorological Organisation predicts that the present La Nina pattern that emerged in August 2011 will generate extreme weather in the Pacific region until approximately next month.
* In Papua New Guinea, Oro, Northern, Chimbu and Western Highlands provinces have been worst affected by La Nina, with deaths caused particularly by dangerous road conditions and flash floods.