Anthony Burke

When the mountains trembled - Two years ago, CERF helped people affected by the earthquake in Papua New Guinea

Two years ago, a massive 7.5 magnitude earthquake devastated many remote communities in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea.The earthquake and hundreds of aftershocks affected over half a million people, displaced almost 20,000 people, and destroyed many roads, bridges, homes, schools and hospitals in the remote lands.

Entire villages were cut off from receiving humanitarian aid for days and weeks. Affected people had to come together as a community to support each other. The isolation was compounded by ongoing fighting between clans. Reports confirmed that these conflicts resulted in the displacement of people, loss of service resources, a decline in productivity and economic activity, and heightened tensions in the Highlands.

CERF provided US$9.1 million to IOM, UN Women, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP, and WHO to kick-start initial rapid response operations. Building on local community and Government networks, these agencies supported and provided critical emergency services to affected people.

Stephanie is one of 600 people living in the Hulira community, Toiwaro Ward in Nipa-Kutubu District, which has been heavily affected by the earthquake. She is 22 years old and has one son. Her home was destroyed during the earthquake when a big boulder from a landslide struck her home as they slept. Luckily, they both escaped unscathed and went to a nearby market area where other villagers had started to gather for safety.


Credits: OCHA/Anthony Burke

Thanks to funding from CERF, she was able to rebuild her home. “I used the tools and training given to us by IOM to help me build my new home,” said Stephanie. Her new home now lies in a new location in the village, on flat land and away from the mountain. “I do not worry as much anymore because my new home is strong and away from the landslide area.”

Find out more and read the full story on the two year anniversary of the Papua New Guinea earthquake here:  https://ocharoap.exposure.co/when_the_mountains_trembled