World Humanitarian Day Briefing by UN Resident Coordinator, Papua New Guinea

IMG_4398 (1)On the 23 August to celebrate World Humanitarian Day UNIC Canberra organised a Diplomatic briefing via Webex by the UN Resident Coordinator, Papua New Guinea, Mr Roy Trivedy.

The briefing was focused on the El Nino climate pattern over the last year, its impact on Papua New Guinea and the corresponding humanitarian efforts to assist communities.

Beginning his briefing, Mr Trivedy said that the El Nino brought with it severe drought and frosts which was catastrophic for a country like Papua New Guinea which has 80 percent of its population heavily reliant of subsistence agriculture.

He explained the various impacts of the El Nino and how communities struggled to cope. One main issue was the lack of rainfall which resulted in the rivers and rainwater catchments drying up leading to a drastic decrease in access to clean water for drinking, cooking and washing. And where communities were reliant on waterways for transport the drop in water level caused difficulties in accessing markets, he said.

In addition to these problems drought created food shortages and food insecurity as food gardens wouldn’t grow – resulting in some communities having to rely on wild crops and berries which is generally regarded as famine food, he added.