The East New Britain provincial government has pledged financial aid to Australia following the catastrophic bush fires which began a week ago.
East New Britain Governor, Nakikus Konga and Pomio MP Elias Kapavore launched the appeal effort yesterday.
Governor Konga says Australia was one of the countries which helped East New Britain back on to its feet after the 1994 twin volcanic eruption in Rabaul.
And now, the province wants to give something back.
” They have helped us so much. So in return, what we give them may be small an incomparable to what they always give us. But that will go a long way to assist the needy”, Governor Konga said.
An initial K10,000 personal donation was put forward by Mr. Konga and Mr. Kapavore yesterday to mark the start of the relief appeal, particularly from the East New Britain province.
In the next three weeks, more fundraiser events will be held in the province to raise funds to go towards the effort.
” You all must help in this appeal program with contributions, maybe ten toea or twenty kina. You will feel it yourself. If your heart tells you to give, then please do contribute something towards this appeal”, Konga said.
The move taken by the East New Britain provincial government comes amidst a blanket of other similar appeals in the country and other Pacific island nations.
Almost every organizations want to contribute something to the country, that had invested a lot in the region.
The PNG government pledge to support with military assistance.
The Prime minister, James Marape pledged to deploy up to one thousand men and women, comprising soldiers and fire fighters to Australia through the PNG Fire Appeal Secretariat.
The Pomio MP, Elias Kapavore have made a public appeal to the East New Britain public to contribute towards this humanitarian effort.
“We called this appeal program, East New Britain for Australia Bush Fire Appeal 2020. It’s an important program for us to allow our people to express their generosity”, Kapavore said.
East New Britain province is not new to natural disasters.
In 1994, the twin eruption of Tavurvur and Vulcan volcanoes devastated the province.
The help that came from the Australian government and other countries to bring normalcy to the province was unprecedented and governor Konga said, now its time to give back, even though it may not be enough.
Its not usual to see Australia getting aid and other humanitarian support from small Pacific Island countries.
But in such times of disaster, this trend is now being reversed.