Affected families get help from Red Cross

Families displaced by tribal fighting in Enga Province have received assistance to rebuild their lives.

The International Committee of the Red Cross carried out its first distribution of relief items to Pilikambi LLG last week.

A total of 757 kits were distributed to 527 households from the Talyul, Sikir and Andati clans.

More than 500 houses were burnt and 20 people killed in tribal fighting in the area.

The items distributed included jerry cans, blankets, mosquito nets and kitchen items. Each kit also contained a set of tools intended to help families rebuild their homes.

Head of ICRC Office in Mt Hagen, Kakhaber Khasaia, said he was delighted with the success of the operation, which was carried out with the help of the Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society.

“We spent almost five months in preparation, which resulted in a very good distribution,” he said.  

The ICRC, which is working to protect and assist victims of tribal fights in the Highlands, began operations in Enga Province in September last year. The distribution is one of the largest Geneva-based humanitarian organisation has carried out in PNG.

ICRC Field Delegate, Daisaku Oka, who organised the activity, said the ICRC put a lot of thought into making sure the operation did not raise tensions in the community.

“We ran simultaneous distributions to both sides of the conflict, which took some planning,” he explained.

The ICRC’s mandate is to protect and assist victims of armed conflict. In PNG, it provides assistance to victims of tribal fights in Southern Highlands, Hela and Enga Provinces.

It also provides First Aid training in areas affected by fighting and works to ensure people in these zones have access to health care and clean water.

Charles Yapumi