On 25 February, an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 at a depth of 35km hit Papua New Guinea mainly in Southern Highlands, Hela and Western Highlands provinces. The epicentre was located in Nipa-Kutubu district.? 544,000 people have been affected by the earthquake, of whom 270,000 in need of immediate assistance, and 100 people were killed.? As of 31 May, 58,300 people are still displaced in 11 care centres and in the communities.??Affected people are in urgent need of food, water, shelter and health services.?
In Hela province, the displaced population is staying in temporary makeshift and tarpaulin shelter.?
Access: As of 24 May, some communities are still hard to reach, including some accessible only by helicopter. The roads situation is slightly improved: the axis Mt. Hagen to Tari is open, from Mendi to Moro the road re-opened but only for light vehicles. The road from Nipa to Magarima is accessible, but only to land cruisers, coaster buses (25 seaters) and 12-wheeler trucks. Homa / Paua to Tubage axis is accessible exclusively to light vehicles.? Since 28 March, UN humanitarian operations in and around Tari (Hela province) have been temporarily suspended following intercommunal fighting.? The escalation of violence affected aid workers, who were attacked and robbed at the beginning of April.? In June 2018, the government declared a state of emergency in Southern Highlands province, due to politically related unrest in Mendi. The government has sent troops to restore order. Violence is likely to further deteriorate humanitarian access in the area.?
Education: 269 out of 439 schools in five LLGs of Hela province are reported to be damaged. 42 schools in Southern Highlands province are reported to be damaged. 34,000 children in the LLGs are estimated to be affected according to the Education Management Information System (EMIS), of which 23,000 children are in the five most affected LLGs.? The extensive damage to schools suggests that many of them will be unable to reopen until next year.? As of April, an estimated 15,700 students have been affected by the earthquake.?
WASH: After the earthquake, water tanks, which constitute the main source for the collection of drinking water, are reported destroyed in Hela province. Wells and rivers are reported to be contaminated and polluted. Most of the sanitation facilities in Levani and Pureni (Hela province) were destroyed and the community uses open defecation.? In May, some 312,000 people are estimated to require WASH assistance to prevent waterborne diseases.?
Nutrition: With the destruction of subsistence family farms, the highlands earthquake in February 2018 has exacerbated the risk of an increase of severe acute malnutrition rate (SAM) that was already between 2.6% and 4% in the affected provinces. PNG has one of the world's highest rates of stunting (49%).?
Health: The three hospitals in Hela province report minor, moderate or severe damage. Half of the eight health centres report minor damage, and the other half are either moderately or severely damaged. Some 47.2% of the 36 health sub-centres of Hela report minor damages.? In Southern Highlands province, there are six hospitals; however, 66.7% of them have sustained minor or severe damage. All the 15 health centres report damage, either minor (53.3%), moderate (20%) or severe (26.7%). Of the province's 36 health sub-centres, 36.1% report minor damage, 25% moderate and 22.2% severe damage. In both the affected provinces, it is still impossible to determine the status of some facilities.? Low vaccination coverage was reported prior to the earthquake, with outbreaks of malaria, pertussis and measles.? Overcrowded infomal camp settings with a lack of access to clean drinking water and sanitation, as well as limited access to the affected communities, increases the risk of disease outbreaks.? In April, 181 cases of diarrhoeal diseases and gastrointestinal infections were reported in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces.? Psychosocial support and trauma counselling is needed for approximately 143,100 people in the affected areas.?
Shelter: 10,000 houses are estimated to be damaged.? Around 54,260 individuals are reported to be in need of shelter assistance.?
Food Security: The highlands earthquake of February 2018, has left approximately 153,000 people in in need of food assistance, due to the loss of staple crops. This number adds to the 64,000 reported to experience extreme food insecurity before the earthquake, making food assistance a priority need in Southern Highlands and Hela provinces.?