East Sepik Governor Allan Bird has provided a report of the situation on the ground in the province via his Facebook Page.
The Governor reported that 8 people have lost their lives in the first few hours of this earthquake due to their houses collapsing on them while they were asleep in their homes when the earthquake struck in the early hours of the morning on Monday 3rd April.
17 people were medevacked to hospital and are recovering.
Governor Bird said more than 800 houses have been destroyed, although it is expected that this estimate may be higher, with most of the destruction in Angoram around the Black Wara Area, in Gawi & Ambunti.
The Governor further mentioned that the initial danger has passed and they are hoping there are no more quakes in the immediate future.
“Our priority is to help our people rebuild their lives.”
“So the most pressing needs are for temporary shelter, tools for rebuilding, cooking utensils, water containers, clothing, bedding, personal hygiene items for women and girls, fishing nets and other livelihood items.”
Governor Bird added that he is grateful for to Frieda Mining and Samaritan Aviation for helping to move people around the affected areas and for evacuating those needing medical attention.
In addition the Samaritan plane and a helicopter was supplied by Frieda Mine, as well as a number of dinghies and trucks were provided for to conduct the assessment.
“This weekend we will finalize offers of help from the Australian, US and French governments along with the Red Cross who are keen to assist.”
“Frieda Mine has also offered significant support.”
“The PNGDF will also be assisting with logistics beginning next week.”
“Given the size of our province and the remote locations of our villages we may not have covered every area fully in this assessment.”
“Hence we are still gathering information from ward councilors as they come in.”
The Provincial Government has allocated an initial K500, 000 to be used in direct assistance to those affected.
The Provincial Administrator will decide how best to use those funds.
“We are grateful to our public servants, police, medical workers, ward members and LLG presidents for their response on the first day and for continuing to collect information.”
“This is a difficult Easter for many of our people but we thank God that despite the significant destruction of homes, loss of life was less than we feared.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who bore the brunt of the earthquake effects.”
Governor Bird in his post, also said he had asked those affected to remain where they are and thanked the communities for sharing food and shelter in this difficult time.
“Thank you everyone for a peaceful week and we hope the same for Easter and the coming weeks as we begin the relief eff