World Vision begins distribution of relief items in Southern Highlands

Written by: Nelson Kairi Kurukuru, Communications Officer

More than a hundred families from earthquake affected communities at the base of Mt. Bosavi received much needed relief items from World Vision.

World Vision, in partnership with Evangelical Church of PNG (EC PNG) distributed a total of 250 ten-litre jerry cans, 60 pieces of water purification tablets totalling to 7,500 and 125 fleece blankets.

Janet Timmon, a beneficiary of the relief items said that she is happy to receive the items from World Vision. She said that children have been greatly affected by the earthquake and its aftermath with many falling ill.

The mother of two, an 11 year old and an infant of two years said “children have fallen ill with diarrhoea, fever and common cold amongst others but I’m happy that the items you have distributed will help the children.”

Tammy Beiyo, the Evangelical Church (EC) of PNG – Station Manager at Bosavi Station 1 said that when the earthquake struck the first time, it destroyed most of the water sources in the area.

He said the only way for the villagers to get clean water was to wait for the rain and to strain it through coconut fronds, transfer it to containers and then consume it.

Mr Beiyo said, “gardens and water sources have been destroyed, some houses have fallen while others are no longer in their original state and as such we need food, water and clothing.”

He said people in the area still feel tremors three times a day and although rivers have returned to their normal state, many villagers are still unsure of drinking water from the river because it may still be contaminated by animal feces.

The World Vision team that visited the communities of Dedesa, Waso, Suko; Wabi, Wabisi and Wasana in the Nipa – Kutubu District of Southern Highlands Province also took the opportunity to conduct awareness on hygiene and demonstrate how to use water purification tablets to purify drinking water. About 170 people were present to learn about water purification methods from World Vision staff.

Mr Beiyo thanked World Vision for the distribution of the relief items, adding that they will now purify and store water in the containers’ distributed and consume from it until the situation returns to normal.

World Vision, Response Manager, Bonie Belonio said the area has been greatly affected and the items distributed will assist mothers and children.

Mr Belonio said “World Vision is happy to have set foot in this place. This is our first attempt to make a difference in the lives of these people, especially the mothers and the children who suffered from the recent earthquake."

He added that “There have been several recent aftershocks and people are still traumatised because of these recent developments.”

World Vision has reached out to 125 households in the area who have benefitted from the relief items distributed.

Mr Belonio said “We are looking forward to reaching out to other villages in the affected area and it is a very difficult time for these people because the only way of help getting in is by light aircraft.”

Mr Belonio thanked local partners, local leaders in the area and EC PNG for the partnership in distributing the relief items to the people.

World Vision is planning to do more in the area with the support of its partners.

He said “This is our first attempt, our first mission here and we look forward to spending more time in this particular place.”