Papua New Guinea businesses have donated at least K80 million in cash and equipment to aid February’s earthquake relief program. As well, Australia, New Zealand, China and the European Union have made cash donations and sent relief teams to the affected areas. The PNG government has set aside an initial K452 million for relief and restoration.
It will take about a year to rebuild infrastructure damaged by the earthquake, according to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. He told talkback radio in Port Moresby that hospitals and health centres will need rebuilding.
Relief efforts are finally picking up pace, two weeks after the quake in Hela.
O’Neill said food and water supplies were being distributed to the area, including to Hela’s provincial capital Tari, which had previously been cut off by road due to landslides.
‘The country’s major companies … have provided cash, equipment and relief teams.’
‘Trucks have also reached Tari, and the Provincial Authority has containers of food which are being delivered by church groups,’ he said.
Among the country’s major companies which have provided cash, equipment and relief teams are: Oil Search, ExxonMobil, Ok Tedi, Bank South Pacific and Digicel.
More companies are expected to donate at a fund-raising function being organised by the ruling People’s National Congress Party in April.
The biggest cash donor so far has been Ok Tedi Mining Ltd, which has given K50 million to the relief effort. CEO Peter Graham said that while the Ok Tedi mine was fortunate that no one was injured, it was seriously impacted by the earthquake and the families of some employees have been affected. He said the mine returned to operation this week.
Oil Search has committed K15 million. A company disaster response team distributed relief supplies to about 6000 people in five earthquake-affected villages in Southern Highlands.
A co-ordination and distribution centre of aid supplies has been set up at Oil Search’s base in Moro. Supplies are being flown in by Australian and New Zealand C-130s aircraft.
Oil Search provided medical treatment to 44 people at Huiya in Mt Bosavi and evacuated four people to the company clinic at Moro. The company’s emergency response team visited Bosavi with food, shelter, clean drinking water and medical supplies.
Serious cases were flown to the company clinic at Moro or the Hela Provincial Hospital in Tari. To date, the team has completed 19 rapid village assessments and seven regional hospital and health centre assessments.
‘Trukai Industries has donated 20 tonnes of rice.’
ExxonMobil purchased a large quantity of much-needed food goods which the Salvation Army will take to Moro. It will also hold a fund-raising event at its headquarters in Texas on Sunday, 25 March.
Adventist Aviation Services PNG CEO, Captain Jeff Downs, has purchased K13,000 worth of rice, tin fish and water, and delivered 850 kg of water to villagers whose water sources had been contaminated by dead fish and crocodiles killed in the aftermath of the quake. They have since delivered three more payloads of 850 kg to three different areas.
Trukai Industries has donated 20 tonnes of rice worth over K60,000. The rice was transported out of Mt Hagen with the support of Oil Search on the Australian Air Force aircraft to Moro, where Oil Search distributed the rice to affected communities.
The China-PNG Friendship Association donated a total of K1.3 million in cash, K19,500 worth of clothing, K41,000 worth of food supplies and K100,000 worth of medicine.
Port Moresby-based Chinese companies, including Eliso Trading, donated 300 cartons of noodles and a K20,000 cheque. Supreme Investment donated 150 single mattresses and Best Year Limited supplied 11 bales of clothes from China.
Initial contribution to the government’s emergency relief fund
Ok Tedi Mine Ltd: K50 million
Oil Search: K16 million
ExxonMobil: K3.1 million
Bank South Pacific Group: K1 million;
Digicel PNG: K636,000
PNG Government: K450 million
European Union: K438,000
Australian Government: K3 million, including tarpaulins, water purification tablets and water containers.
China: K1.3 million through the China-PNG Friendship Association
New Zealand has committed an initial K1.15 million to help with the emergency response.
The Israeli Government has delivered 40 power generators to Papua New Guinea.