The effects of El Niño are common in Papua New Guinea (PNG). El Niño reappears every 2-10 years. In early 2002 drought was forecast to affect PNG. This current El Niño condition has already caused mild drought and isolated frost, especially in higher areas. Numerous reports have already been documented on the current El Niño event, which has been blamed for causing food and water shortages in these affected parts of the country. The more severe impacts exist along regions within the boundary of Savannah grassland in both high and low altitude areas.
On 30 October 2002, a technical assessment on the impact of El Niño was conducted by the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), AUSAID, Australian National University and National Disaster Management Office (NDMO). According to the technical team report the areas, that are currently experiencing the severe El Niño related drought events, are Telefomin District of Sandaun Province and the middle and south areas of Western Province. The other areas of high altitude region that experience El Niño related frost and drought events are Kandep and Sirunki areas of Enga Province, upper Mendi areas of Southern Highlands and Tambul areas of the Western Highlands Province.
The current prolonged drought in these regions have had a large impact on the agricultural sector. The impact of drought has caused food insecurity in the affected areas. Garden food and cash crops in these areas die as a result of heat and low moisture content in the soil. The impact also caused water shortage, which is seen as another major problem. It was observed, that the rivers and creeks have gone dry or reduced in volume causing people living along rivers and creeks to migrate to other areas.
On 23 December 2002, the Director of NDMO called all stakeholders for a meeting, at which he presented some reports on the situation. He emphasised that the drought has severely affected people in Highlands and Gulf provinces. The drought has become a main concern of the Government. At the moment all NDMO effort will be directed to the drought affected Provinces. He appealed to the international NGOs, local NGOs as well as donors to give priority to the drought.
Red Cross/Red Crescent Action
PNG Red Cross Society (PNGRCS) and the Federation Delegation are in close contact with NDMO. PNGRCS initiated to have an interagency assessment. The Secretary General of PNGRCS had advised the branches in the drought affected areas to reactivate the emergency committees at their level and to collate and update information on the situation. PNGRCS Disaster Assessment and Relief Team members are also being mobilised. The DP officer and DP delegate are co-ordinating with all partners involved in the joint assessment.
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For further details please contact :
- The Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society, Secretary General, Ms. Jacqline Boga in Port Moresby ; Phone 675 325 8577; Fax 675 325 9714; email email@example.com
- Federation PNG Delegation, Head of Delegation, Mr. Ole Gronning, Phone 675 311 2277; Fax 675 323 0731; email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Geneva-based Desk Officer, Satoshi Sugai, Phone 41 22 730 4273; Fax 41 22 733 0395; email email@example.com
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Asia and Pacific Department