SHP health authority reports 7 deaths

The Southern Highlands Provincial Health Authority reports 7 people brought to the hospital have been confirmed dead. The number could rise as access to remote areas is foreseen in the coming days.

Dr. Martin Sa’avu, Director of Medical Services for Southern Highlands Provincial Health Authority, revealed this while commending the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the provision of medical supplies.

“These materials are vital and timely to help us care for the victims of this tragedy, we pray that our people will endure this sad experience,” Dr. Sa’avu said.

The medical supplies to Mendi Provincial Hospital can provide treatment for up to 2,000 minor wounds following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck the Highlands of Papua New Guinea on February 26th, 2018.

The ICRC is working closely with the PNG Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent to identify the pressing needs and mobilise resources. It is also coordinating with the PNG government and other stakeholders.

ICRC Head of Mission, Mark Kessler, said: “It is still difficult to estimate the full scope of this tragedy due to the remoteness of these areas. Many roads having been affected, and it makes access even more complicated.

“We are saddened by reported loss of lives and very concerned about the situation for the Highland populations,” he added.

The ICRC has also said based on their initial assessments, the hospitals in Mendi, Kagua and Ialibu are functional. Mendi hospital has suffered minor damages to its infrastructure and medical equipment has been destroyed.

“We will continue our efforts to reach areas mostly affected by the disaster. Next, our teams, together with PNG Red Cross volunteers, will be heading to Hela Province and Nipa District in order to have a first-hand picture of the situation as we continue to coordinate with the government and other stakeholders to provide further assistance,” Kessler concluded.

(Assessment photo of a Kagua school in Southern Highlands Province)

Press release