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Displaced Families Welcome Food Aid from IOM and USAID
Port Moresby – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) continues to assess and assist communities displaced as a result of election-related violence in the Highlands region.
As part of the response, IOM delivered emergency shelter kits and non-food items to 615 households (3,921 people) in Mendi-Munhiu and Nipa districts in Southern Highlands province. IOM has also started distributing food rations to address the food insecurity situation facing the displaced communities.
With financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), IOM has distributed food rations to 250 households (1,350 people) that were displaced from Tupiri and Old Compound communities, to neighbouring villages in Mendi town. IOM is targeting an additional 750 displaced households (approximately 3,975 people) with the food rations.
The displacement tracking assessment conducted by IOM, local authorities, and partners identified 1,977 persons that were displaced from Old Compound and Tupiri communities by the conflict that happened in Mendi town in August 2022 and are yet to return to their homes.
IOM worked closely with the leadership from the displacement-affected communities and Southern Highlands Provincial Administration to identify the most vulnerable population such as persons living with disabilities, old persons, and women heads of household, to target with food aid.
“This assistance is a huge relief to us. We needed help, especially the mothers and children because they are affected the most by the fighting,” said Luke Welin, a community member from Old Compound.
The distribution of food rations by IOM took place in Mendi town on 14 October 2022. The food rations kit comprises of rice, cooking oil, tinned fish, sugar, and iodized salt that would last for up to two months.
In total, IOM distributed 30.5 tonnes of rice, 1,875 litres of cooking oil, 4.6 tonnes of tinned fish, 1.125 tonnes of sugar, and 0.375 tonnes of iodized salt.
With support from UNICEF and working in partnership with the Southern Highlands Provincial Health Authority, IOM will supply the target communities with nutrient supplements for children.
“Our properties and backyard food gardens were destroyed during the conflict, leaving many families with little, or no resources to fend for themselves,” said Joanne Epi, a church leader and women’s representative in Old Compound community. “You gave us cooking utensils and emergency shelter materials and have come back to give us food. Thank you, IOM and USAID,” added Joanne.
Funded by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund and USAID/BHA, IOM continues to work in partnership with local authorities to assess communities displaced by election related violence, including providing relief assistance in the form of shelter kits, food rations, and non-food items.