News release

Papua New Guinea: ICRC carries out first relief distribution in Enga Province

Port Moresby (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross carried out its first distribution of relief items in Enga Province last week, providing essential tools to hundreds of families displaced by tribal fighting in Pilikambi LLG.

A total of 757 kits were distributed to 527 households from the Talyul, Sikir and Andati clans. The three clans were involved in a recent tribal fight that lasted almost six months and saw more than 500 houses burned and 20 lives lost.

Head of ICRC Office in Mt Hagen, Kakhaber Khasaia, said he was delighted with the success of the operation, which was carried out with the help of the Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society. "We spent almost five months in preparation, which resulted in a very good distribution," he said.

The ICRC, which is working to protect and assist victims of tribal fights in the Highlands, began operations in Enga Province in September last year. The distribution is one of the largest the Geneva-based humanitarian organisation has carried out in PNG.

More than 50 people, including ICRC personnel, volunteers from the Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society and community helpers, were engaged in the two-day operation, which took place at Kepelam Primary School and the village of Landelam on 31 January and 1 February.

The items distributed included jerry cans, blankets, mosquito nets and kitchen items. Each kit also contained a set of tools intended to help families rebuild their homes.

ICRC Field Delegate Daisaku Oka, who organised the activity, said the ICRC put a lot of thought into making sure the operation did not raise tensions in the community. "We ran simultaneous distributions to both sides of the conflict, which took some planning," he explained.

The ICRC's mandate is to protect and assist victims of armed conflict. In PNG, it provides assistance to victims of tribal fights in Southern Highlands, Hela and Enga Provinces. It also provides First Aid training in areas affected by fighting and works to ensure people in these zones have access to health care and clean water.

For further information, please contact:

Dan Waites, ICRC Port Moresby, tel. +675 708 80 624

Winnie Monouluk, ICRC Port Moresby, tel. +675 321 0721