Summary: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) was granted on 28 February 2018 for CHF 209,398 to the PNGRCS. The DREF reached 3,000 people in three Highlands provinces, who were affected by Highland Earthquake in PNG.
A 7.5 magnitude earthquake with a 35-kilometre depth, struck at about 4 am (Papua New Guinea- PNG time) on 26 February 2018, followed several aftershocks in three highland provinces of PNG.
Approximately over 100 people dead, with most of confirmed deaths caused by landslides triggered by the earthquake.
Earthquake affected over 270,000 people, who experienced the intensity above 6.0 and required humanitarian assistance. The displaced people caused by earthquake were sheltered temporarily on a schools, churches and care centers.
Due to absence of PNGRCS Branches in all those three provinces, the Western Highland Branch, under the guidance of the DREF project manager and Regional Operation Coordinator, was tasked with planning the response. The volunteers were on stand-by immediately from the 1st week of March, preparing for response. Planning commenced in earnest, once the DREF was approved on 28 February, however the majority of communication and road accessibility was damaged, and accessibility has returned to manageable condition only after being cut off for several weeks. The Regional Operation Coordinator from APRO surge support stopped over on 5th March in Western Highland followed by Southern Highland and Hela, this provided an opportunity to discuss the operation and for him to meet the volunteers.
On 25 March, the IFRC Head of the Country Office, brought the RDRT to Western Highland, to introduce him and hold discussions regarding the DREF requirements. A response team of 20 volunteers from Western Highland branch along with RDRT from IFRC deployed to earthquake affected areas to commence operation planning, coordination, distribution and awareness activities.
With the DREF allocation, PNGRCS met the needs of affected people and implemented a strategy that included relief distribution, WASH, hygiene information & dissemination and displaced people’s community awareness. The scope and budget for this operation enabled the targeted population of 3,000 people reached directly who were severely affected by the earthquake. Although due to main and link road accessibility to the affected areas this DREF was extended for two additional months, the implementation of activities for the operation was successfully concluded by 27 July 2018 including lesson learnt workshop. Those activities reached 3,000 people. The consolidated financial figures have yet to be finalized, the final financial report will be issued together with DREF Final Report once the financial consolidation is finalized.