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Salvation Army responding to Papua New Guinea earthquake

Salvation Army responding to Papua New Guinea earthquake

Salvation Army responding to Papua New Guinea earthquake

2 March 2018

The number of lives lost, injuries, and damage suffered during the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck last week is only now becoming known.

By IHQ communications

"The devastation caused by this earthquake is very distressing," said Colonel Kelvin Alley, Papua New Guinea Territorial Commander. "This disaster has struck a cruel blow to people who mostly struggle day to day for mere survival in any case. People have now lost their gardens, personal possessions, their simple houses and also some have lost their lives in the most tragic circumstances. The remoteness of the impacted regions makes it even more difficult to assess the extent of damage and to easily respond with the assistance that is necessary."

An estimated 10,000 households have been affected by Monday's 7.5-magnitude quake, which caused devastation in the Hela and Southern Highlands provinces of central Papua New Guinea. More than 300 people are reported to have been injured and 16 killed.

Roads and airstrips have been severely affected, making travel in and around the remote region even more difficult than usual. Communications are hampered further by disruption to the power and telephone networks.

The Salvation Army is the emergency relief response partner of ExxonMobil – the international oil and gas corporation – which has a gas-conditioning plant in the affected area. Plans are being developed to provide emergency relief assistance to 500 households in the immediate vicinity of ExxonMobil’s site in Hides.

The initial proposal is for three teams of eight trained responders to distribute emergency food and other essential household items, as part of a coordinated response in conjunction with the local authorities, local churches and other non-governmental organisations. Health professionals will be included among the response teams. ExxonMobil is assisting with transport to the remote communities, and with other logistical arrangements.

Subject to a detailed needs assessment, a second phase of response would extend the relief efforts to more homes in the Hides and Gobe corridor – an extremely rugged and remote part of the country, in which access is difficult.

The Salvation Army’s work in Papua New Guinea includes the training and deployment of community health workers, literacy programs and provision of education to more than 4000 children. The Salvation Army also offers support services to people who leave their traditional rural communities in search of employment in the larger towns and cities.

Donations to The Salvation Army’s South Pacific and East Asia disaster fund can be made online.


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