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01 Apr 2018 description

By Papua New Guinea correspondent Eric Tlozek

The victims of a devastating earthquake in the Papua New Guinea highlands say the disaster has compounded the impacts of deadly tribal fighting that had already displaced thousands of people.

Made homeless by tribal enemies who kidnapped and gang-raped her last year, *Mary fled to a neighbouring village in Papua New Guinea's highlands to seek shelter.

"I was raped and severely beaten on my face," she said.

27 Mar 2018 description

By Elise Fantin

A senior United Nations official has demanded the Federal Government reconsider its offshore processing policy as concerns about detainees' mental health grows.

Indrika Ratwatte, the Asia Pacific director for its refugee agency the UNHCR, recently visited the Nauru detention centre and described the conditions as "shocking".

"Looking at the conditions here, particularly the mental health situation, it's very, very shocking," he said.

"We must make every effort to get refugees out of this situation."

28 Feb 2018 description

Pacific Beat By Wendy Everett

As tens of thousands of people on Tonga's main island struggle to rebuild after Cyclone Gita, authorities say the storm fortuitously blew away many dangerous dengue-carrying mosquitos.

Two weeks after the category four cyclone scored a direct hit on the capital Nuku'alofa and the main island of Tongatapu, up to 50,000 people are still without power and a consistent supply of clean drinking water.

18 Nov 2017 description

Updated Sat at 11:37pm

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has called for the Federal Government to allow independent doctors and other health experts to help more than 400 asylum seekers languishing inside the recently-closed detention centre on Manus Island.

The asylum seekers have shut themselves inside the Australian-run Manus Island Centre for the past 18 days, defying attempts by Australia and Papua New Guinea to close it in a standoff the United Nations describes as a "looming humanitarian crisis".

30 Oct 2017 description

By Pacific affairs reporter Liam Fox on Manus Island

Key points:

  • Minister says "PNG has no obligation" to deal with refugees who do not want to resettle in the country

  • He says PNG also has no responsibility for asylum seekers found not to be refugees

  • Overseas workers bound for new facilities have been blocked from entering PNG

08 May 2017 description

Tropical Cyclone Donna appears to have weakened slightly after briefly becoming the strongest out-of-season storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.

Key Points:
- The cyclone is heading south-east in the direction of New Caledonia - Winds of up to 300kph have been recorded at the centre
- It is the third late-season cyclone to hit the Pacific

The severe cyclone is still at the second strongest level, a category four, as it heads towards New Caledonia's outer islands — it is expected to make landfall late on Tuesday.

03 Mar 2017 description

By Eric Tlozek

The medical clinic at Australia's detention centre on Manus Island may be shut down because its operator did not comply with medical registration laws, Papua New Guinea's Government says.

PNG's Health Minister Michael Malabag is preparing a report for the country's National Executive Council on alleged breaches of the Medical Registration Act by International Health and Medical Services (IHMS), which is paid by the Australian Government to provide medical care to asylum seekers on Manus Island.

21 Dec 2016 description

By Katherine Gregory

A refugee in Nauru has told the ABC he has been unable to receive much-needed medical treatment on the island.

Key points:

  • Refugee named Yusuf who has been experiencing severe heart problems says he was told he'd go to PNG for treatment

  • Yusuf signed official paperwork and gave consent but was never transferred

  • The Australian Government defers responsibility to Nauruan Government

05 Jul 2016 description

Food aid is arriving for more than 100,000 people in the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea who have been enduring hunger for nearly a year due to El Nino-driven drought and frost.

Care International, the World Food Program and provincial authorities are distributing much-needed rice to provinces whose crops were badly hit last August by the worst frost in 40 years and the prolonged drought that followed.

23 Feb 2016 description

By Pacific affairs reporter Liam Fox and staff

There is growing frustration among Fijians who say they are yet to receive any help after a devastating cyclone struck the country on the weekend.

More than 1,000 homes were destroyed in Rakiraki, a major town on the north coast of Fiji's main island Viti Levu, and 500 have been partially damaged, local officials said.

The town looks like a bomb had gone off, with barely a building left unscathed.

22 Feb 2016 description

The death toll from Cyclone Winston, which tore through Fiji on the weekend, has risen to 21, officials say.

Aid agencies warned of a widespread health crisis, particularly in low-lying areas where thousands of Fiji's 900,000 people live in tin shacks, after crops were wiped out and fresh water supplies blocked.

More than 8,400 people remained hunkered down in hundreds of evacuation centres across Fiji where they had headed before Tropical Cyclone Winston hit late on Saturday with winds of up to 330 kilometres per hour.

21 Jan 2016 description

Amid reports of drought-related deaths in PNG's Western Province, the country's Government admits some remote areas have received no relief since the start of the El Nino-driven disaster in the middle of 2015.

Reports of drought-related deaths in Papua New Guinea's Western Province will be investigated by the Prime Minister's Office after the Government admitted some remote areas have received no relief since the start of the El Nino-driven disaster in the middle of 2015.

11 Jan 2016 description

Health experts fear a new superbug may be festering on Australia's doorstep, as a drug-resistant tuberculosis outbreak in the northern Torres Strait continues to worsen.

Health experts are worried a new superbug may be festering on Australia's doorstep, as a drug-resistant tuberculosis outbreak in the northern Torres Strait continues to worsen.

More than 160 of the 15,000 people living on the island of Daru, near the PNG–Australia border, have drug-resistant tuberculosis — the highest rate in the world.

09 Jan 2016 description

Solomon Islands health authorities have confirmed six children have died in an outbreak of diarrhoea that's spread across six provinces and they're warning it's not yet reached its peak.

The outbreak is believed to have begun back in November but has spread across the country during the annual Christmas and New Year travel.

Dr Chris Becha, the Ministry of Health's emergency and operations committee chair, says while they're working to contain the outbreak, it's feared the worst is perhaps not yet over.

Catherine Graue

09 Jan 2016 description

While much of drought-stricken Papua New Guinea has been enjoying a relatively wet start to the year, humanitarian workers say by no means is the dry weather over.

Weather experts this week said that the monster El-Nino, which has driven the drought, seems to have peaked in recent weeks, but it still isn't expected to break up for several more months.

08 Oct 2015 description

By South Asia correspondent James Bennett

India is the in grip of its worst dengue fever outbreak in years, with more than 6,500 confirmed cases and at least 25 deaths in the capital New Delhi so far this season.

Across India, wards normally reserved for surgery are crammed with men, women and children battling the potentially fatal mosquito-borne virus.

Thousands of cases have overloaded the city's hospitals.

There is also a growing number of fatalities and allegations authorities have been slow to respond with tragic consequences.

30 Sep 2015 description

Medical specialists from Australia and New Zealand are in Vanuatu to help local practitioners learn how to treat and manage people with mental illness, and especially those who are suffering in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam.

A workshop is being run as part of the Pacifika Medical Conference, with more than 300 delegates from across the region in Port Vila this week.

23 Sep 2015 description

By Pacific affairs reporter Liam Fox

Authorities say the death of a two-year-old girl in Vanuatu may be the first fatality in the country linked to the region's worsening drought.

The drought is adding to the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam six months ago, with people in some parts forced to forage for food in the bush.

Dr Jacob Kool from the World Health Organisation's office in Vanuatu said the girl from Tanna Island died from severe diarrhoea, which may have been caused by contaminated water or inedible food.

11 Aug 2015 description

The family of a female Iranian asylum seeker, who was allegedly raped three months ago in Nauru, say the Federal Government has refused to allow her to be treated in Australia.

In May, 23-year-old Nazanin Bagheri left the Nauru detention centre to visit friends on the island.

She was raped as she made her way back to the family camp.

Ms Bagheri's brother Omid said following the attack, staff from medical provider, IHMS, informed the family his deeply traumatised sister would be sent to Australia for treatment.

15 Jul 2015 description

The Federal Government's foreign aid budget cuts have forced a coalition of aid groups behind a major Australian-funded health and sanitation project in Africa to ask other countries to keep it alive.

Delegates from around the world will meet at a UN development conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa this week.

They will discuss ways to achieve sustainable development goals, including ending poverty and achieving food security worldwide by 2030.