The Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society (PNGRCS) has launched a major relief exercise aimed at supplying immediate humanitarian assistance to five provinces affected by natural disasters in recent months.
The provinces of West New Britain, Jiwaka, Western Highlands, Madang, Central and NCD will receive relief aid from PNGRCS.
Relief supplies were transported by air to West New Britain and Madang on Saturday, 20 March.
A total 1,500 jerry cans, 2,000 mosquito nets, 2,000 blankets and 1,000 tarpaulins have been sent to West New Britain and distribution is expected to commence in Bialla, where there is a most urgent need.
Widespread damage was experienced from Kandrian Gloucester in the west, to Bialla on the east, bordering East New Britain Province. The constituencies of Kimbe urban and rural, Hoskins, Talasea, Mosa and Bialla are reported to be worst affected, with the assessment recording a total 8,750 people affected in these areas.
Under the campaign, we want to reach out and assist about 10,000 people. We call upon all available donors to support our ongoing efforts,” said Secretary-General, Stanley Kila-Pat.
For Madang province, houses were destroyed with food gardens and cash crops inundated by floods. In response, a total 800 mosquito nets, 320 blankets, 300 jerry cans, 240 tarpaulins and 60 cooking pots were sent to the Madang branch. The distribution will start with 33 families in Ramu and Sausi areas.
“We are thankful to our pool of volunteers in the provinces whose support enables us to deliver the much-needed humanitarian supplies to the people in the affected areas,” Kila-Pat added.
The campaign commenced in Jiwaka Province last Thursday, 19 March 2015, where the Western Highlands branch of PNG Red Cross visited Wurup Kaip Ward One and Ward Two areas and distributed 336 tarpaulins, 672 blankets and 336 mosquito nets to a community of more than 2,000 people.
Locals have lost their homes and food gardens during the recent heavy rains and flooding. Among the recipients was a 104 year old man who served with distinction in the Second World War.
On Tuesday, staff and volunteers from the Branch visited the Baisu area in Western Highlands, where flooding from nearby Waghi River had destroyed homes and food gardens. They distributed mosquito nets, jerry cans, blankets and kitchen items to 81 households.
Partners from the Australian Red Cross (ARC), the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have rallied support behind PNGRCS. The distribution was made possible by a landcruiser vehicle and relief kits donated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The ARC and IFRC provided technical and financial support towards the relief exercise in West New Britain and also Madang.
Speaking at the Jiwaka distribution, Leader of the Nokpa tribe, Paias Pep, expressed his gratitude towards the PNGRCS and ICRC. “The people in our areas have never received any assistance from people or agencies outside of our communities. We say thank you to PNG Red Cross and ICRC,” Pep said.
Branch Coordinator of the Western Highlands branch, Ms Pauline Ross, said the distributions were carried out on schedule and that the staff and volunteers were working around the clock to ensure a timely delivery of the relief items.
“The floods destroyed the livelihood of the people – their homes, cash crops and livestock. We are hopeful the assistance we have given will contribute towards the rebuilding of people’s lives.”