On February 26, 2018, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck near the city of Porgera in Papua New Guinea's Enga province, killing dozens of people, destroying houses and causing landslides. There have been dozens of strong aftershocks, with some over 6.0-magnitude. The Prime Minister declared a state of emergency in the affected areas. In earthquake damaged provinces of Hela and Southern Highlands, more than 30% of all health facilities are closed, and 68% of facilities open report damage. The regions most affected are rural and difficult to reach. Around 670,000 people live within 100 km of the earthquake's epicenter. An Americares emergency team deployed to Papua New Guinea to provide aid and assess the damage to the health system.
Delivering emergency supplies after the earthquake.
To date, the team has conducted several mental health and psychosocial support activities, including trainings in psychological first aid and healthcare coping and resiliency for staff at several social service and health facilities. In addition, they also locally sourced and delivered oral rehydration and water purification supplies along with soap, accompanied by training for staff on proper usage of the supplies.
Americares has responded to other disasters in remote Pacific island nations including Fiji and Vanuatu after Cyclones Winston and Pam.
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