7.5 magnitude earthquake

UN mobilises support for PNG earthquake

The team will assist the PNG National Disaster Centre in assessments, response coordination, logistics and information management in the worst affected areas, especially in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces.

The UN has initially mobilised USD1.4 million (K4.6 million) to support relief efforts, having already dispatched immediate relief supplies to the earthquake affected areas such as tarpaulins, water containers, emergency medical items including medical kits, vaccines and malnutrition treatment supplies.

Govt sets up disaster trust account

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced this yesterday in Port Moresby.

PM O’Neill said all donations from Papua New Guineans must be put through this Trust account.

He added that all government efforts had been directed to the account as well.

The account number is 70129 85888.

“All donations must go through this particular account because we want it to be coordinated and audited properly,” stated O’Neill.

“We want the money to reach the communities that really deserved it.

“We don’t want to waste any resources.”

Stop vandalizing: PM

O’Neill made these remarks after getting reports that Digicel towers were being vandalized.

“I’m appealing to our people that this is a time for us to work together for the immediate needs of our people,” appealed the PM.

“These kind of actions do not help anyone.

“Let us try and restore communication as it is vital and would save lives. We may need to send help to send food supply and medical supply to these areas.”  

O’Neill also added that the Government had also dealt with some landowner issues along some of the road slips.

PNGDF recovers 6 bodies under landslide

In a statement, the PNGDF said six of the bodies have been identified, confirmed and buried.

This was confirmed after the two PNGDF Bell 202 helicopters were deployed on a medivac mission to Homa, Pawa villages in the Mansis LLG at Kutubu, to airlift 22 government workers and sick villagers that were affected by the earthquake over the weekend.

The four remains undug beside the mountains were identified as Henri Kiliape, Hengene Kila, Simon Andali and Sali Wawi.

1 week later: Help yet to reach remote villages

Hunger and dehydration continue to rise while deaths remain unaccounted for.

Local police officer Jacob Kumin has confirmed that brief tremors resumed this morning after ceasing for almost 3 days.

He further revealed there has not been any government presence in the impacted villages.

He said Oil Search is on ground and started doing village to village assessment and at the same time, handing out bottled water and some food items.

Churches called to support affected areas

Bishop Tege says people are seeking spiritual guidance at this time of pain and uncertainty and urged for all churches, regardless of denomination, to stand together and reach out to the people.

The United Church in PNG is establishing church-led response centres in Tari, Hela Province, and Mendi, Southern Highlands Province, to coordinate initial needs assessments.

The assistance of the six other member churches under the Church Partnership Program will collaboratively share church actions and to plan for response and recovery efforts.

Death toll reached 55: CBC

This is according to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference based on reports received from the Mendi Diocese in SHP.

General Secretary for Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, Father Victor Roche, said coordination amongst authorities, churches and parties on ground is key during this trying time. 

Initial reports provided by the Mendi Diocese following the earthquake confirm 20 deaths in Hela Province and 35 in parts of Mendi.

North Fly MP unhappy with disaster response

James Donald says most of the areas affected were remote and could only be reached by air. 

Most affected villages in North Fly, according to reports, are those along the border of Hela and Southern Highlands provinces, and are from Nomad and Olsobip LLGs.

A touching recount of MAF’s earthquake response

On Wednesday, 28 February, MAF performed a joint-effort medevac for a woman outside Huya Airstrip in a village called Fau.

MAF received the report and Sharlene Coker, who is not only MAF PNG’s operations assistant but is also trained as MAF international global disaster response administrator and operations specialist, worked with Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) to get coordinates for this village in the hope that one of their translators was familiar with this particular village.

Disappointing data by disaster teams: Official

One week has passed since the devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Highlands region.

National emergency controller, Dr Bill Hamblin, revealed that during a meeting they found that the data provided by teams dispatched, especially from the National Disaster office, into the affected areas lacked the specific information needed to take appropriate action.

Dr Hamblin said it was very disappointing as the reports were generalised by the team.