13 April, 2018

During the early hours of February 26, a massive 7.5 magnitude earthquake rocked the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The quake was the largest earthquake recorded in the region for almost 100 years.

Since the major earthquake, there have been dozens more powerful aftershocks and tremors.

Because it shook such a remote part of PNG, it took aid agencies time to assess the needs, establish a response and deliver supplies.

More than 100 people died, and hundreds of thousands of people have been affected.

In recent weeks, ADRA has delivered food to hundreds of people via light aircraft.

PNG Earthquake pilot

Willie Kunsei (right) with 27-year-old AAS pilot Matthew Mati.

ADRA partnered with Adventist Aviation Services to reach those regions most difficult to access.

There have been a number of delays due to damage to electricity and communication infrastructure, as well as difficulty in reaching remote parts of the country most affected.

Just before Easter, the first plane was able to land and deliver vital food assistance.

A total of 3550kg of food supplies were loaded and delivered to Huya Airstrip.

That included 266 bags of rice, 51 cartons of tinned fish, 6 cartons of cooking oil and 12 cartons of salt.

PNG Earthquake unloading


Over the ensuing days, another 5500kg of food was delivered, in total assisting hundreds of families.

ADRA PNG Emergency Coordinator Willie Kunsei said it was difficult to reach the earthquake site.

“The location to reach the beneficiaries can only be accessed by light aircrafts,” Mr Kunsei said.

Some people from nearby villages trekked for days to reach the airstrip so they could receive food aid.

PNG Earthquake Joseph Irari

Joseph Irari (front) is the carpenter for the Western Highlands Mission, which assisted in the loading and transportation of food relief from its storage container to the airport.

Many had lost access to food sources and fresh water. Some had completely lost homes, according to Mr Kunsei.

“It was a humbling and satisfying feeling to be able to bring much-needed food to the people at Huya. Not all are Adventist on the airstrip, so it was great to be able meet their physical needs,” he said.

Everyone was extremely thankful and grateful for the assistance, Mr Kunsei said.

PNG Earthquake beneficiaries

“They were are happy and smiling when the food was delivered. They were very appreciative and were waving so energetically when we left. They were very cooperative in unloading and moving the food to the main distribution area.”

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Tags:  Disaster, PNG,