Hela Province

Hela women intent on change

It is easy to see their plight.

Frequent tribal conflicts erupting in many parts of the province have dislodged families from their homes and robbed them of their livelihoods with the most vulnerable – women and children – seriously affected.

Throughout Hela the cry for peace has been growing.

Following the successful women’s leadership summit held in Goroka in 2017, Hela women requested Oil Search Foundation (OSF) support a forum where they can lead the dialogue around addressing violence.

Hela health facilities under restoration

ExxonMobil PNG, operator of the PNG LNG Project, is investing K2.3 million to rebuild and equip three local health centres in PNG LNG project areas in Hela Province.

This is part of its ongoing support to invest in infrastructure improvements and support earthquake affected communities.

The Mananda and Para sub health centres are managed by the Evangelical Church of PNG (ECPNG) while the Juni sub health centre is staffed and operated by National Department of Health through the Hela Provincial Health Authority.

Warring clans attend workshop

Restoring peace and stability is important for setting a solid foundation for recovery and reconstruction.

The leadership of two previously warring clans from Hela Province recommitted to renouncing violence at a law and order workshop in the Fugwa Basin area, boosting hopes a peace settlement negotiated in April will hold.

The leaders were among 32 people attending a three-day workshop at Fugwa Primary School that provided information on law and justice agencies, family and sexual violence, juvenile justice, illicit drugs and tribal fighting.

Hela, SHP public service to be revived

Emergency Controller Dr Bill Hamblin mentioned this during a recent press conference, stating that the emergency restoration team is looking to set a post relief effort for work into reviving public service for the betterment of the two provinces.

He said it is important for the administration teams to get to work, adding there is discussion underway with partner organisations for this to eventuate.

The team is in discussion with ExxonMobil to make available buildings for the provinces to carry out administration work.

12 dead in Hela clash

Since the killing of the LLG councillor on the 28th of March, a tribal warfare has now escalated in Tari Pori district.

This newsroom has been told that the death toll has steadily risen since the tribal fight started.

The recent killing occurred on April 5, where two people were killed. This brings the total number of fatalities to 12 while countless others have been hospitalised.

It was also revealed that the Tari General Hospital is now being run by the PNG Defence Force medical team after staff had vacated the premises in fear of their lives.

Concerns raised over safety of Hela children, women

The Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC), a sectoral committee of the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council (CIMC), is appealing to community leaders, tribal leaders and individuals, including men, to put an end to the fighting and pursue conflict resolution so that much needed humanitarian support and government assistance can continue into the province.

Disaster villagers call for resettlement

The leaders of the council wards in those affected areas came to Port Moresby last weekend and raised their concerns and tried to get answers.

The leaders were led by Deputy Governor for Hela, Thomas Potabe, who raised concerns that their people are currently in fear and cannot go back to their villages.

Potabe said most of their properties were lost including gardens and road networks.

“We must resettle our people to new locations as we cannot go back to our villages in fear of the earthquake.”

Three died due to starvation: Local

From these, the newsroom has gathered that fresh water and food supply is currently an immediate need.

So far, two children and an old woman from Mapuli village in the Komo-Margarima LLG of Hela Province, passed away yesterday, believed to be from starvation.

This is according to local woman Akili Kapiako.

Kapiako’s father had a nail embedded in his head during the earthquake, however he is stable now at the Tari hospital.

Other than that, she says locals have been without food and fresh water for three days now.

Community leader upset with disaster response

John Tipa is one of the many victims of the earthquake that struck the Highlands region at 3.44am on Monday (Feb 26).

“I lost everything that’s why I’m very upset with the provincial government employees here, from the deputies to the directors,” Tipa said.

“They have vehicles, they have been resourced; they have to be here on the ground to assist all the victims throughout the province.

“Where are all the public servants?”

Province controlled by ‘he who has a gun'

Many have died, many more are fleeing their homes, and only a few are making the bold stand to expose the actual situation on ground.

Over the weekend, Rev Wai Tege, Bishop of United Church in Hela, sat with Loop PNG to expose the grim situation.

He said very soon, Hela will be a province controlled by “he who has a gun”.

“Hela has roughly 300 thousand people. About 50 – 60 percent of that is male, and each of them own a gun. I’m not talking about home-made guns, these are high powered guns,” he said.