Papua New Guinea landslide update: Food, clean water and clothing prioritised for 7,849 affected people.

Communities gather around food supplies following the Enga landslide. Photo credit: Sr John Mary / Wabag Diocese.

Following a massive landslide on the 24 May of 2024 in the Enga Province of the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, an initial rapid assessment report from the UN has revealed extensive losses and damages to communities downhill, also destroying livelihoods and key infrastructure.

7,849 individuals from 1,427 households across two communities are affected, with 1,650 individuals from 315 households displaced. One in five displaced people is under the age of six.

With a population of 26,450, 21% of the Enga province has been impacted. Among the affected are 21 pregnant women, 48 breastfeeding mothers, 12 persons with disabilities, 10 people with serious medical conditions, and 14 unaccompanied children who have lost their parents.

The report revealed that food security, clean and safe drinking water (as well as water tanks and purification tablets), and the provision of nonfood items such as utensils and clothes are the top three priorities.

Humanitarian agencies are also offering medical supplies, psychosocial services, relocation opportunities and support to local communities. Logistic and information management support is also being offered to the government.

Sister John Mary, Secretary and Project Manageress of the Catholic Diocese of Wabag within the Enga province, has visited affected communities in recent days, and said: “We have visited communities to deliver food and medicine to people who are digging their loved ones out of the earth. When we were there a body was found and people were crying, and that is just one of many. The shock and grief in these communities is profound, and among it all many have no home to return to, no food to eat, no clean water to drink or no clothes to wear.”

“Supporting appeals like the one Caritas Australia is running can help provide some of these things. You are also invited to unite in prayer, for your brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Wabag, who are in most desperate need of your love and compassion.”