IFRC

Helping remote communities in Papua New Guinea recover after Cyclone Pam

Published: 28 July 2015 4:49 CET

By Navinesh Kumar, IFRC

Four months after tropical cyclone Pam swept through the Pacific, the Papua New Guinea Red Cross continues to assist communities affected by the storm.

Lydia Ruru, 26, a mother of an 11-month old baby, is from the Province of Western New Britain in the District of Hoskins. Lydia is a volunteer with the Red Cross recovery teams who are working with local communities to understand how families are rebuilding their lives after the disaster and to assess what additional support may be needed in the coming weeks and months.

“When Cyclone Pam came, there were strong winds which blew down houses and damaged local water sources,” said Ruru. “Some people ran away and stayed with families or friends. I stayed in my own home. After the storm had passed, we went into the bush to collect materials to repair our homes,” she continued.

One aspect of the recovery programme involves Red Cross volunteers working closely with remote island communities in West New Britain to share health advice in a bid to help families prevent illness. Red Cross volunteer Ronald Ragi (20) is part of the hygiene promotion teams travelling to communities around the island. He clearly recalls the moment the disaster struck.

“Most of the roofs from our houses were blown off when the storm hit. We could hear people crying out for help. Some of them had moved to a higher ground to a safer place until everything was calm.”

In the aftermath of the disaster the Papua New Guinea Red Cross began emergency relief distributions, providing vulnerable families with much needed items such as tarpaulins, kitchen sets and blankets.

 “As the village headman, I was very delighted to see the assistance coming in from Red Cross. We were provided with water containers, first aid support and mosquito nets to name a few of the items,” said Julias Madi (67) of Buloma village.

“Our houses collapsed, coconut trees fell, water swept through the village and we couldn’t do anything. We lost most of our belongings in the storm. After the storm had passed, we collected materials from the bush to build temporary shelters for our families,” he added.

 “This was the first time I have learnt about the Red Cross and what it does for the people. Now I share information about Red Cross with my fellow villagers and also in church. Now, my children are getting ready to be Red Cross volunteers to help the less fortunate in our community,” concluded Madi.




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