Central Province identifies disaster vulnerable communities

Sep 14, 2017

Severe erosion caused by the swollen Kempwells River in Rigo, Central Province.©Nick, Turner/UNDP (PNG)

Port Moresby, 14 September 2017The Central Province Disaster Office will use a new Disaster Risk Assessment report to focus their attention on communities vulnerable to disasters in the province.

The report which was released recently shows Central Province as highly prone to multiple hazards including floods, droughts and strong winds.

Central Province is one of five provinces and regions featured in a Disaster Risk Assessment report compiled by a team of experts from the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES) with support from technical specialists from relevant Papua New Guinea institutions. RIMES is co-owned and operated by Governments in Asia and Africa and helps its members generate and apply early warning disaster information.

Mr Khusrav Sharifov, UNDP Technical Specialist for Disaster Risk Management said: “The province’s flood, drought and tropical cyclones including strong winds and king tides are assessed to be the most frequent hazards. These requires serious attention in terms of disaster risk reduction measures to be implemented at the local level.”  

The preliminary results of the assessment report indicate that:

  1. Floods have a great potential to affect people and their livelihoods including critical infrastructures such as roads, bridges, schools and health centers
  2. The province is subject to low, moderate and high levels of drought with more severe conditions between 3 and 6 month periods
  3. The coastal areas of Central Province are exposed to tropical cyclones and strong winds which causes storm surge hazards.

To prioritise the disaster risks that have been identified for the province, UNDP held a two-day disaster risk reduction planning workshop in Port Moresby from 13-14 September 2017 with the Central Provincial Administration and other development and NGO partners working in the province.

Mr Tumai Ipou, Central Disaster Office Advisor, said the workshop was very informative and useful: “We are now more aware of these issues that our people are faced with, and have developed risk reduction plans for each specific hazard for the province.”    

While UNDP and other partners are supporting the province with partial implementation of the risk reduction plans, the most important commitment is now required from relevant authorities and communities to reduce the risks.

Mr Ipou said the risk reduction plans include immediate, medium and longer-term measures that need to be addressed: “Understanding the hazards and their specific risks really helps us to raise awareness with the communities to take pro-active actions to reducing disaster risks. We also need to make good use of the hazard maps to identify the most vulnerable communities to focus our attention on.”

The Disaster Risk Assessment is being conducted as part of the ‘Strengthening Disaster Risk Management in Papua New Guinea’ project, which is implemented by the National Disaster Centre and UNDP and largely funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The project provides strategic support to the Government of PNG to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience to disasters.

Disaster risk reduction planning and assessment results will also be conducted in three pilot provinces in Madang, Simbu and Western Highlands in the coming weeks.

Contact information

Serahphina Aupong, UNDP Communications Officer, +675 737 48724, serahphina.aupong@undp.org

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