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Country analysis

Papua New Guinea


Violence in Highlands region, which comprises seven provinces (Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, Enga, Hela, Jiwaka, Southern Highlands, and Western Highlands), drives the current humanitarian situation in Papua New Guinea.

The elections spanning May–August 2022 resulted in political and electoral violence between rival political groups. Intercommunal violence also rose in that period because of diminished security, a result of the reallocation of security forces to support the election process.

The country experienced a significant rise in violence, mainly political and intercommunal in nature, and in related fatalities in 2023 compared to 2022. The political, electoral, and intercommunal violence led to killings, including of women and children; sexual violence against women and girls; sorcery accusation-related violence against women; civilian infrastructure damage; and displacements, including to remote areas such as mountains, where access to basic services is limited.

The country is prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding, landslides, drought, and sea-level rise, which are expected to increase in frequency, magnitude, and intensity because of climate change.

Papua New Guinea has poor coping capacities because of weak physical and communication infrastructure and governance, as well as a lack of access to healthcare.

(UNCT PNG 15/09/2022, UN 06/09/2022, WB accessed 04/02/2024, ACLED accessed 04/02/2024)

Violence in Highlands region, which comprises seven provinces (Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, Enga, Hela, Jiwaka, Southern Highlands, and Western Highlands), drives the current humanitarian situation in Papua New Guinea.

The elections spanning May–August 2022 resulted in political and electoral violence between rival political groups. Intercommunal violence also rose in that period because of diminished security, a result of the reallocation of security forces to support the election process.

The country experienced a significant rise in violence, mainly political and intercommunal in nature, and in related fatalities in 2023 compared to 2022. The political, electoral, and intercommunal violence led to killings, including of women and children; sexual violence against women and girls; sorcery accusation-related violence against women; civilian infrastructure damage; and displacements, including to remote areas such as mountains, where access to basic services is limited.

The country is prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding, landslides, drought, and sea-level rise, which are expected to increase in frequency, magnitude, and intensity because of climate change.

Papua New Guinea has poor coping capacities because of weak physical and communication infrastructure and governance, as well as a lack of access to healthcare.

(UNCT PNG 15/09/2022, UN 06/09/2022, WB accessed 04/02/2024, ACLED accessed 04/02/2024)

Latest updates on country situation

16 April 2024

As at 10 April 2024, floods and landslides resulting from heavy rains since March had affected around 90,000 people in Central, Eastern Highlands, Enga, Gulf, Jiwaka, Simbu, and Western Highlands provinces. Those affected urgently need food, potable water, blankets, tents, shelter tools, and WASH items. (Govt. Japan 12/04/2024)

02 April 2024

As at 8 March 2024, around 45% of the violent incidents and 75% of related fatalities in Highlands region had occurred in Enga province since the 2022 elections. Political and intercommunal violence has resulted in an estimated 25,500 IDPs in the province, with around 5,450 displaced since February 2024. Most of them rely on the host community for food, drinking water, shelter, and WASH infrastructure, putting pressure on the latter’s already limited resources. Recurrent tribal fighting has also destroyed many of the host community’s food gardens. The strain on WASH facilities has resulted in inadequate sanitation, long queues for basic hygiene needs, and open defecation practices, posing public health risks. IDPs face significant protection risks, especially gender-based violence, because of violence and insecurity in the area. The women and children who make up most of the IDP population need particular mental health and psychosocial support. (ACLED accessed 03/04/2024, IOM 26/03/2024, IOM 19/12/2022)

current crises
in Papua New Guinea


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

PNG003 - Highlands Violence

Last updated 25/04/2024


Drivers

Earthquake

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

2 Low

Access constraints

1.0

Analysis products
on Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea: Manam Island Volcano

07 September 2018

Papua New Guinea: Manam Island Volcano

DOCUMENT / PDF / 668 KB

Manam Volcano, on an island off the coast of Madang province in northern Papua New Guinea, erupted early in the morning of 25 August. Lava and ash are affecting nine of 13 villages on the island, which has a population of about 7,000 people. As of 28 August, two of these villages, Dangale (239 people) and Kolang (143 people), have been evacuated to unaffected locations on the island.

Natural hazards
Papua New Guinea: Dandan Centre Needs Assessment

22 May 2018

Papua New Guinea: Dandan Centre Needs Assessment

DOCUMENT / PDF / 811 KB

On 5 January, volcanic activity on Kadovar Island, one of the six Schouten Islands of Papua New Guinea, prompted all 591 residents to evacuate. The islanders have been relocated to the Dandan Care centre, located in Turubu LLG (East Sepik Province). 

Natural hazards
Papua New Guinea: Highlands Earthquake

01 March 2018

Papua New Guinea: Highlands Earthquake

DOCUMENT / PDF / 852 KB

On 25 February an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 hit Papua New Guinea affecting mainly Southern Highlands, Hela, Western Highlands, Western Province, and Enga provinces. The affected area is mountainous and remote, although impact has been reported in Mendi city, almost 100km away. An estimated 274,600 people are within 50km of the epicentre. 

Natural hazards
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