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DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES MORE ASSISTANCE FOR MULITAKA LANDSLIDE VICTIMS IN ENGA PROVINCE

By: Mortimer Yangharry

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Australia Richard Marles was accompanied by Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy when they flew into Wapenamanda Airport on a Royal Australian Defence Force aircraft recently , bringing more assistance for the people of Mulitaka in the Paiela-Pogera District of Enga Province.

Together on the flight from Port Moresby were PNG Defence Minister Dr.Billy Joseph and Enga Provincial Member Sir Peter Ipatas.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, who is also the Defence Minister, announced that the Australian Government will provide a further package of support to assist the Papua New Guinea-led recovery response to the devastating landslide in Enga Province.

From Wapenamanda Airport, these leaders were flown by helicopter into the Mulitaka Disaster Site where the Deputy Prime Minister mentioned the additional support will help restore essential services in the province including local infrastructure, healthcare and education.

“Road access is critical for essential services as well as food and fuel supply chains. The additional support of $2 million announced is in response to PNG’s request to restore connectivity of the Highlands Highway – the transport artery of the region,” Marles said.

“We will provide another $220,000 for health services at the Mulitaka Health Centre and the Pokolip Health Post, including equipment and supplies for essential maternal health services, that will help to reopen delivery rooms at both centres,” he said.

He assured the Enga Provincial Government that Australia will also provide 1,170 learning packs for children through their Partnerships for Improved Education Program.

“These investments build on Australia’s initial assistance of $2.5 million for emergency supplies, support for humanitarian partners and the deployment of technical experts including a Disaster Assistance Response Team,” Marles said.

The Deputy Prime Minister acknowledged the extraordinary efforts of local authorities including the Enga Provincial Administration and the PNG Defence Force in leading PNG’s disaster response.

“Australia and Papua New Guinea are close neighbours, friends and equals,” Marles said.

He reaffirmed Australia’s commitment and readiness to provide further assistance to the people and Government of Papua New Guinea moving foward.

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