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Save The Children To Respond To Enga Landslide As PNG Grapples With Devastation

Save the Children will provide much-needed aid to communities impacted by the devastating landslide in Papua New Guinea’s remote Enga Province, as the extent of the disaster unfolds amid ongoing relief efforts.

In the early hours of 24 May, a massive landslide and rockfall hit Yambali village, in Papua New Guinea’s Enga Province, burying at least 150 homes under six to eight meters of rock and soil. UN agencies have said that more than 670 people have died since the landslide struck, with that figure likely to rise, as Papua New Guinea’s national disaster agency has said that more than 2,000 people may have been buried in the landslide.

An estimated 6,000 people have been affected by the disaster and are in urgent need of aid, though the number could be higher as the affected area is a place of refuge for people who have been displaced by tribal violence.

Both the Australian and New Zealand Governments have announced aid packages in response to the landslide disaster. However, the challenging long term recovery efforts will require additional support from international donors as the scale of the disaster continues to unfold.

Save the Children Acting PNG Country Director, Dea Bickey said the immediate needs for children and families in the impacted area included access to critical humanitarian assistance, such as food, clean water, hygiene, shelter, and education.

"We are extremely concerned about the impact of this devastating landslide on children and their families in the affected area of Enga Province, as this has fast become one of the worst disasters ever to hit PNG," Ms Bickey said.

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"As the challenging situation in Enga continues to unfold, the needs of the affected communities are growing, with essentials such as shelter, food, water, and basic household items the most pressing in the immediate term.

"We are particularly concerned about the protection risks facing women and children with the current lack of shelter, the remoteness of the affected area and tribal conflict in the Highlands. "Child protection must be prioritised in the disaster response because we know that children are especially vulnerable during disasters. This includes access to books and learning materials, which help children continue to learn as well as process the psychosocial impact of the disaster.

"In order to aid their recovery, impacted children and their families will need a wide range of psychological support after witnessing the devastation wreaked by the landslide and the tragic loss of loved ones."

As part of its response in coordination with NGO partners, Save the Children will distribute non-food items (NFIs) such as shelter kits, hygiene kits, and essential household items as well as solar lights to families who have been directly impacted by the disaster. The humanitarian organisation also has pre-positioned stocks of items such as tarps, child play kits and school backpacks which can be provided to evacuees.

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