PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Understanding the full extent of the impact of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck PNG on 26 February, particularly in remote mountainous and hilly areas, continues to be a challenge. More than 544,000 people across five provinces, Enga, Hela, Southern Highlands, Western and Gulf, have been severely affected. Of these, around 270,000 people require immediate humanitarian assistance, especially in the seven worst-hit Local Level Government (LLG) areas in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces, which have been prioritised for initial relief efforts. Food, water and sanitation, shelter, health and protection assistance is being provided. Efforts are being scaled up, although logistical constraints and security concerns continue to impact delivery to the most remote communities.
544,000 people affected
Tropical Cyclone Hola crossed over the southern part of Vanuatu on 7 March as a Category 3 storm, and continues to track south-south east out of Vanuatu waters and towards New Zealand with winds of up to 188km/per hour. Malamp, Penama, Shefa, Tafea and Sanma provinces have been affected by TC Hola. One person is known to have died and two people were injured, while homes and buildings in Malampa and Penama provinces of Vanuatu were damaged. Assessments are ongoing in affected areas. As well as buildings, it is reported that water supply systems are damaged, crops and fruit tress destroyed, and communications are restricted with roads blocked and telecommunications down. A risk of malaria and dengue outbreaks has also been reported.
54,000 evacuees have returned home after the alert for the Mayon volcano was reduced to level 3.
However, volcanic-related activity is ongoing including earthquakes, sporadic degassing and lava effusion events. The downgrading of the alert to level 3 will allow many people staying in the 61 evacuation centres to return home.
However, approximately 11,000 people will have to remain in the centres and will not be able to leave until the alert is reduced further to a level 2.
More than 300 people have reportedly been displaced in Kayin State after fighting broke out between the Myanmar Military and the Karen National Union (KNU) on 5 March in Ler Mu Plaw village tract, Hpapun Township. The number of displaced people cannot be independently verified at this stage. There were armed clashes between the Myanmar Military and KNU in January and February, but this is the first significant displacement of civilians.
Renewed fighting was also reported in Tanai Township in Kachin State and in Namtu Township in Shan State during the past week, although no new displacement of civilians has been reported in these areas.
Heavy rains on 8 March caused landslides in Kebumen District, Central Java Province on Java Island. Two houses were severely damaged. On 11 March, heavy rains and tidal surges caused floods in West Bangka and Central Bangka districts in Bangka Belitung Province in Sumatera Island. While the water has receded, around 900 houses were inundated during the floods. No casualties have been reported.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.