Oil Search Limited was awarded the inaugural PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Outstanding Humanitarian Initiative Award for their response and relief efforts during February’s earthquake.
Managing Director, Peter Botten, accepted the award during the 15th PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference Dinner in Sydney.
“We had no choice as the damage was unprecedented,” he said, “We were also one of the few organizations in PNG with the ability to provide rapid on-the-ground assistance to our local communities in their hour of need.”
“We worked very closely with the PNG government and in partnership with other donors, including the Australia and New Zealand governments, to ensure critical needs of communities were addressed in the best possible way.
“We were happy to do our bit in helping PNG recover from this disaster.”
In the early hours of 26 February 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake rocked the PNG highlands – the strongest in the region. The devastation from the initial quake and the many aftershocks was felt across Southern Highlands, Hela, Western and Gulf provinces.
Just days after the initial earthquake, Oil Search committed an initial US$5 million (estimated K15 million) in cash and in-kind for disaster relief efforts in the worst-hit provinces of Hela and Southern Highlands.
The company was at the forefront of immediate relief efforts. Their Moro base was offered as a coordination point for the delivery of emergency aid and food and supplies donated by the company. In Moro, make-shift teams worked long hours receiving supplies of food, water, shelter and medicine from a range of donors and ensuring they were packed and ready for distribution.
Oil Search was a first responder sending its helicopters and personnel with initial relief supplies to the hardest hit villages, including Pimaga, where more than 2,000 people were sheltering. On land, Oil Search engineering and construction resources were sent to open the Kopi to Kutubu road alternative to the Highlands Highway which became an important route for supply of food, fuel and restoration equipment to affected areas.
Oil Search is continuing its efforts on rebuilding and getting communities back on their feet by providing safe water and sanitation facilities, re-establishing gardens and repairing or rebuilding houses, roads and infrastructure.
By the numbers:
200 tonnes of relief supplies delivered to affected villages, mainly by helicopter
200,000 people and 1,605 reached in affected provinces
80 health centre kits weighing 250kg each delivered to villages
2,500 medical treatments by oil search and oil search foundation
70 medical evacuations from villages
Source : words and images from Oil Search