IOM Completes Delivery of Aid to Mt. Ulawun Volcano Affected Communities in Papua New Guinea

IOM, funded by USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance has successfully reached 850 displaced families across nine care centers in WNB and ENB provinces with essential non-food items. © IOM/ 2023

IOM distributing relief items to internally displaced persons in West New Britain province. © IOM/ 2023

Port Moresby – In the aftermath of the November 2023 Mt. Ulawun volcano eruption in Papua New Guinea, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been unwavering in its commitment to provide relief to affected communities in West New Britain (WNB) and East New Britain (ENB) provinces.

In collaboration with the National Disaster Centre and Provincial Disaster Centres of WNB and (ENB) and funded by United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, IOM has diligently worked towards addressing the life-saving needs of the disaster-affected communities.

IOM has successfully reached 850 displaced families across nine care centers in WNB and ENB with essential non-food items (NFIs). The items distributed include kitchen utensils, sleep mats, cleaning materials, jerry cans, and gardening spades. These items have helped in addressing the needs identified through assessments.

Throughout these efforts, IOM deployed a gender-inclusive team including a protection expert to work alongside the WNB Emergency Operation Center (EOC) and Forward Operation Base (FOB) team. This collaboration helped to streamlining coordination, enhanced relief efforts and improved the well-functioning Camp Coordination and Camp Management in the care centers.

IOM’s technical support has also been crucial in building capacity in the disaster team and site management committees. The protection expert has helped in mainstreaming protection and gender in IOM's response. This has promoted upholding the rights and dignity of affected communities particularly women, children, and persons living with disabilities, fostering an environment prioritizing safety, empowerment, and equity for disaster-affected communities.

The risk of the volcano has now been downgraded since the time of the eruption. As such, 2,000 (385 households) of the 6,864 displaced people (1,353 households) have now safely returned to their villages of origin. The remaining 4,864 individuals (968 households) many of whom originate from the high-risk zone have remained in Sovula, Kabaya, and Bakada care centres until further advice from the EOC.

IOM also worked in partnership with the WNB Provincial Disaster Centre and distributed NFIs donated by the Australian Government, promoting an equitable, coordinated, and effective humanitarian assistance targeting persons displaced to the care centers.

We thank USAID, the Australian Government and IOM for their continued support in undertaking the needs assessment, beneficiary targeting, and delivery of life-saving assistance to the displaced people," said Clement Bailey, WNB Acting Provincial Disaster Coordinator and EOC Controller.


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