PNG Earthquake: An Update

Story by Mandy Glass

On February 26th 2018, a 7.5 earthquake hit PNG and since that time, MAF has been serving those impacted in the remote areas. MAF has received donations from individuals and businesses in PNG and around the world, in addition to funding from New Zealand Aid, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and Barrick New Guinea Limited. This has allowed us to subsidise flights so aid organisations like World Vision and Care International, UNICEF, WFP and other groups, and individuals wanting to assist the people in the remote areas could get teams and supplies in more affordably. Our aircraft have flown in building supplies, food supplies, seeds and tools for replanting, water tanks and toilets, clothing and many other items.

Now, more than one year after the earthquake, the cliffs from the major landslides are still visible. MAF still flies regularly to the area. “The needs of people are still great,“ states MAF’s Brandon Coker. “A few organisations are still working in the affected area and so flights providing relief supplies and team movement between locations are still needed. We are currently still able to subsidise flights with thanks to New Zealand Aid and Barrick New Guinea Limited contributions.“

Sally Lloyd, who grew up as a mission kid in the area, was involved in the relief and rehabilitation work from the very beginning. It broke her heart to see her extended Papua New Guinean family
and friends in such a devastating situation. Over the course of the past year, she has been involved in many rescue missions, organising the logistics of many relief flights for the Strickland Bosavi Foundation. As a valuable advocate on the ground, she was and still is consulting in partnership with the likes of World Hope International, PNG government relief groups, the World Food Programme and CARE International assessing people’s needs and assisting in relief goods flown in.

“The people in the border regions of Hela, Southern Highlands and Western Province still have a long way to full recovery,“ Sally Lloyd said, “but it’s encouraging to see them rebuilding their lives
little by little. Projects are being implemented which will assist long term with chronic malnutrition, poor health outcomes and other ongoing improvements to the lives of those often forgotten.
Strickland Bosavi Foundation will continue to work with partners to see health facilities improved, education as a priority and the lives of people in our remote region across the Great Papuan Plateau (Strickland Bosavi region) improved.

Thanks to all who have worked with our people to make a difference: ECPNG, MAF (& many MAFers who personally went above and beyond!), World Hope Int, RAA, UN (WFP, UNICEF), OSF, CARE, World Vision, ADRA, NDOH, Controllers Office, Governments of PNG, NZ, Australia, OTDF, SIL, Barrick, Hevilift, Pacific, Callan Services, MRDC, Stop Hunger (Heinz Kraft Australia), the leaders and volunteers of our people (& others I may not have listed!) – a massive team effort with our people to save lives and bring hope. Thank you.“

Sally Lloyd’s list of organisations and individuals shows that by partnering together and sharing resources lots can be achieved and lives can be restored and changed for the better. Since the initial event in February 2018, our MAF aircraft have spent 400 hours in the air conducting 284 relief flights, delivering 296,785 kgs of cargo and transporting 664 passengers to 17 destinations.

The last subsidised flight into the earthquake affected region was carried out on 27 February, one year and one day after the 7.5 earthquake which started to shake up the region. Some of the recent flights into the area were charters by Care International taking food supplies, tools and sanitary items into Walagu and Dodomona as well as staff members who continue to train people in various topics, like hygiene and sanitation.

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