• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 7,297,000 People exposed [?]
  • 153,000 People in Need of Food Assistance [?]



Papua New Guinea (PNG) is extremely vulnerable to natural hazards and disasters, particularly earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Six of 16 active volcanos in PNG are classified as high risk.? The country also frequently experiences earthquakes and faces a high risk of related tsunamis. Rising sea-levels are another concern, especially for island communities, and will decrease access to agricultural land and groundwater. During the wet season from November to April, island and coastal communities are exposed to high winds and cyclones, while inland communities often experience flooding and landslides. At the same time, PNG is prone to localised dry spells and droughts, such as the El Niño-induced severe drought in 2015/16.? 2019 will likely see drier than normal conditions due to a highly likely but moderate El Niño event.?

87% of PNG’s population live in remote rural areas and the dependence on subsistence agriculture and unimproved water sources increases their vulnerability to external shocks like sudden- and slow-onset natural disasters or epidemics.? Severe acute malnutrition is very high and remains an underlying factor for morbidity and infant mortality.?

INFORM measures PNG's risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster as relatively high with 5.6/10, partially due to a severe lack of coping capacity (7.6/10).?

PNG does not have a Crisis Severity Score due to the lack of conclusive data.

Latest Developments


No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team. 

Key Priorities


Health: PNG has a low vaccination coverage, exacerbating the vulnerability to outbreaks – Tuberculosis cases are common and the poliovirus has re-emerged in 2018, which is further aggravated by the deterioration of access to quality healthcare in recent years.?

Displacement: Intercommunal violence, land disputes, and natural disasters often cause internal displacement in PNG (45,000 people between 2013 and 2016) and are increasing the need to find durable solutions for those unable to return to their places of origin.?

WASH: Only 40% of the population have access to an improved water source and only 19% of the population have access to an improved sanitation facility.?

Bougainville referendum


On 23 November, polls for the Bougainville independence referendum were opened. About 207,000 registered voters across PNG's Autonomous Region in Bougainville and overseas can cast their vote in the next two weeks. Bougainvilleans can decide whether they are in favour of greater autonomy from PNG or of Bougainville to split from PNG and become an independent nation. Observers believe that a majority will vote for independence. The results are expected in mid-December. The referendum is non-binding and a potential vote for independence has still to be ratified by the PNG parliament. The Bougainville referendum is seen as a further step towards reconciliation of the Bougainville armed conflict. The peace agreement of 2001 required an independence referendum to be held by 2020. It was initially supposed to be held in June but got postponed at the beginning of this year at the request of the Bougainville Referendum Commission. Polling is being observed by a New Zealand-led international police force of Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Solomon Island, and Vanuatu. ?