“This Partnership Has Saved Lives”: IOM, USAID and Disaster Centres Deliver Aid in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands

Photo: IOM distributing food rations to communities affected by election related violence in the Highlands. © Thomas Mek/ IOM 2023

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), working in partnership with the national, and provincial disaster centres in the Highlands provinces of Papua New Guinea is distributing food rations to vulnerable households affected by election related violence in Enga, Southern Highlands, Hela and Jiwaka.

It has been over a year since election-related violence broke out in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands region, displacing several local communities.  

Food crop gardens and shelters have been damaged in the wake of the violence, adversely affecting the livelihoods of women, children, people living with disabilities and the elderly.

IOM, through the generous financial assistance of USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) continues to deliver much-needed aid to affected communities.

Food rations of rice, cooking oil, tinned fish, sugar, and salt have been distributed to 750 households comprising of 3,975 people this week.

Relief efforts have targeted households headed by women and the elderly, especially those hosting people living with disability.  These homes were identified through IOM’s displacement tracking matrix information.  

Community leaders and women from these areas shed tears as they noted the hardships that affected groups were dealing with, especially in providing meals for their families.

“It will take months for us to replant and harvest our crop fields destroyed during the fighting. Providing enough food for families has been difficult and we are thankful to USAID and IOM for this assistance,” said a women’s representative, Mambu Gene.

“We faced several difficulties and several families had to skip meals. We did not have enough money to buy food and this help is appreciated,” she added.

“This is first of its kind the displaced persons receive such assistance,” said local community member Michael Kuman, as he received two months’ worth of food rations on behalf of his household. Kuman noted that the food rations would sustain the community until the upcoming harvest time.

Jiwaka Provincial Disaster Coordinator, John Kupul extended his thanks to the people and government of the United States for supporting affected communities. He appreciated the partnership of IOM and Jiwaka Provincial Disaster Centre, made possible through funding from the USAID/BHA.

Kupul noted that this partnership will go a long way to improve the lives of the most vulnerable populations. “This partnership has saved lives,” he said.

IOM through USAID/BHA has improved food security for 5,300 people from 1,000 households in Enga, Hela, Southern Highlands and Jiwaka provinces through distribution of two months’ supply of food rations. 


For further information, please contact IOM Port Moresby, Peter Murorera, Tel: +675 321 3655 Email: or Mohamud Omer, Tel: +675 7316 1525 Email:

SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals