Papua New Guinea: Highlands Earthquake Situation Report No. 4 (as of 21 March 2018)


This report is produced by the National Disaster Centre, the Office of the Resident Coordinator and the United Nations Coordination and Assessment (UNDAC) Team in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It was issued by the Disaster Management Team Secretariat. It covers the period from 18 March to 21 March 2018. The next report will be issued on or around 27 March 2018.


  • According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), 6,444 households (34,153 people) are displaced in 39 communities and informal care centers.

  • Almost 65 per cent of health facilities in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces are damaged and 32 per cent remain closed.

  • To date, 87 villages have been reached with food supplies in Hela, Southern Highlands and Western provinces.

  • Around 1,300 shelter and non-food items have been distributed in Southern Highlands and Hela provinces.

  • All airports in the affected regions are open except for Huya and Komo airfields, which are only open to helicopters. The roads from Mt. Hagen to Tari and Tari to Mendi remain open. Nipa to Magarima and Tari and Komo roads are partially accessible. The road from Mendi to Moro remains closed.

270,000 people in need of assistance

87 villages reached with food

34,153 displaced people in 39 communities and care centers

269 schools in five LLGs (Hela) are damaged

Situation Overview

The National Disaster Centre (NDC) estimates that around 544,000 people have been affected in five provinces and that more than 270,000 people are in immediate need of assistance. Over 125,000 are children, of which 55,000 children are under the age of five.

Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) teams completed assessments confirming that 6,444 households (34,153 people) are displaced in 39 communities and informal care centers. Current figures estimate that 10,000 houses have been damaged and need immediate shelter assistance.

In Hela Province, of the 31 health facilities (not including aid posts) 90 per cent have been damaged to some extent. In Southern Highlands Province, of the 46 facilities (not including aid posts) 45 per cent have been damaged. Significant gaps remain in sanitation and hygiene support, including hygiene messaging, for affected areas.

According to Education Management Information System (EMIS) data on schools and number of students in the seven most affected LLGs, over 34,000 school children are enrolled in 368 schools, of which more than 23,000 children are in the five most affected LLGs of Hela. Reports from the SMS Blast/RapidPro among school inspectors and some teachers identified that 269 of 439 schools in five LLGs in Hela are damaged. Provision and maintenance of water tanks, sanitation facilities, school buildings, learning materials and canvas for temporary shelter are the most pressing needs. In Southern Highlands, 42 schools have submitted damage reports to the Department of Education. The buildings of the Department of Education in both the provinces are badly damaged and most staff have not returned to work.

The toll-free trauma and crisis counselling hotline continues to receive calls from the affected areas. Calls cover issues, such as fear of aftershocks, people needing assistance but have not been reached, distress due to loss of property, concern for relatives and general confusion about the cause of the earthquake. Rumors and fear still have a huge influence on what people believe and how they can recover.

All airports in the affected regions are open except for Huya airstrip (Southern Highlands) an Komo airfield (Hela) which are only open to helicopters. The roads to Mt Hagen to Tari and Tari to Mendi remain open; there are reports on increasing traffic on these roads. The road from Nipa to Magarima and onward to Tari and Komo is only partially accessible and the road between Mendi and Moro remains closed.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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