All photos by Muse Mahommed/IOM 2016
After months of anguish caused by an El Niño drought, large parts of the Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea then experienced torrential rain, exacerbating existing levels of vulnerability. Rivers swelled up and hillsides became saturated with water. The resulting floods and landslides affected homes, food gardens, water sources, and infrastructure in several provinces, particularly the Highland and Momase regions.
Sometimes the road is washed away, sometimes it's faster to put out to sea. Sometimes rivers and oceans are the only way to reach the most ctitically isolated communities
Prior to the flooding, drought brought immense hardship to the vulnerable Highland communities, leaving large numbers of people without access to clean drinking water, heightening the risk of disease and affecting the levels of available food. Then too much rain made life even worse: destroying surviving food crops and polluting water sources. With the majority of the effected population relying upon subsistence farming, the impact was particularly harsh.
Kitchen sets, household items, clothes, mosquito nets and hygiene kits wait on the shore...along with curious kids
Piled high on a banana boat, the precious relief items continue on their journey
The provision of timely and targeted assistance became critical to alleviate the suffering of the worst flood-affected communities. From IOM's community assessments it was evident that food relief, distribution of items relating to sanitation, hygiene, shelter, clothing, disease prevention, clean water and household supplies would be of highest relevance. IOM, with funding from the United States Office of Disaster Assistance, then set about planning delivery of emergency relief assistance to 400 households (2,400 individuals) from the most severely affected and vulnerable communities in Enga, Oro, Jiwaka, Hela, and Morobe provinces.
The banana boat leaves Oro bay and heads upriver to Garara village...where the relief items are distributed
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