At least six people in Papua New Guinea are reported to have died as a result of landslides and flooding caused by heavy rains in recent weeks. 200 homes have been destroyed, and bridges have been swept away in Oro and West New Britain provinces. Disaster authorities and humanitarian organisations were scrambling to assess the extent of the damage so distribution of relief supplies could begin. (RNZI, 15 Feb 2016)
IOM has also responded to these recent disasters affecting the Highlands region. In Jiwaka the Wagi valley has flooded and numerous landslides have occurred because of heavy rains. It is estimated that five thousand households are affected by flooding or landslides. One of the biggest concerns remains food security. Crops that can take nine months to mature are being washed away by heavy rain. In the dry season communities planted close to rivers in the hopes of speeding up the drought recovery, but now these much needed crops have been swept away by the heavy rain.
IOM is the only international disaster relief organisation with a permanent base in Jiwaka. It plans to carry out community-based disaster assessment management training for the communities that experience frequent disasters to show people how to prevent and react to disasters. (IOM, 31 Mar 2016)