Challenges existed before earthquake: UN

Development challenges existed in the Highlands region long before the February 26th earthquake.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator for PNG, Gianluca Rampolla, said the state of the region was only worsened by the earthquake.

In a recent interview with this newsroom, the UN resident coordinator, Gianluca Rampolla, told of the UN’s response during the February 26th earthquake.

Rampolla said during the distribution of relief supplies, they discovered that some of the children were malnourished or stunting.

“That was not because of the earthquake. They were malnourished before the earthquake,” he said.

“The fact that there were some places where infrastructure is not available, schools are not there or medical personnel are not there, that’s not the earthquake.”

Rampolla said there is work for the Government, with the support of its partners, to ensure that reconstruction at the impacted areas of Southern Highlands, Hela and Western is steady and fast.

“And we get to use the opportunity of having to respond to an earthquake to build out better than it was before.”

Rampolla further acknowledged Australia and New Zealand for being critical partners in the entire operation.

“From the moment they helped with the provision of air assets that enabled the movement of relief items up to the Highlands to the financial resources that they have provided for the relief.

“There was one important component of work that we would not have been able, as United Nations, to take care of had it not been for the support provided by Australia, and that is to provide protection for the most vulnerable group, especially women and children.”

(United Nations Resident Coordinator for PNG, Gianluca Rampolla)

Carmella Gware