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

Mr Trivedy also explained how education and health facilities were affected with many schools in the country having to close as both teachers and students needed to travel longer distances to find water and food.

In the area of health – water shortages created more hardship for pregnant women as often they had to bring their own water to the clinics to assist in the post delivery stage.

In response to the worsening situation, Mr Trivedy explained how the UN and partners addressed and are continuing to address these situations.

In addition to their ongoing work, in January/February the UN conducted a nation-wide assessment and it was found that 1.4 million people were regarded as severe food insecure and up to 200,000 people extremely food secure – the latter meaning that people were having to manage on one meal a day or even skip the one meal a day.

A Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) appeal was then launched for 37 million dollars with the funds targeted for life saving delivery of food and nutrition support. In addition to this water and sanitation in health facilities and also in agricultural recovery is being targeted.

Only 39 percent of the CERF  appeal has been funded to date, he said.

In answer to a question on where things in Papua New Guinea are tracking now Mr Trivedy said that in March/April this year, many parts of the country had good rainfall, in fact, he added, part of the current worry is the El Nina and issues around landslides impacting on some communities.

However he noted that there are still some parts of the country where rainfall has been erratic so some communities require continued support and consequently the UN and partners will assist the most vulnerable where possible.

But, Mr Trivedy stressed, the aim is not to try and provide one hundred percent supply to everybody partially because there is not the resources – but also it is vital  to continue to work with provincial coordinators to ensure that the traditional coping mechanisms and family support mechanisms are not undermined.

In his final remarks he stated that the UN clearly recognizes Papua New Guinea as a clearly affected country by the El Nino and changes in climate in general and is continuing to  work with the national government on disaster planning for the medium and longer term.

Equally,he said, that the UN recognizes that it is really important to ensure that communities in Papua New Guinea become more aware of the Sustainable Development Goals and for the communities themselves to work with partners  to achieve theses goals – working together, towards better lives for all.

For audio of the briefing :