Saturday, March 31, 2018

Papua New Guinea Kumul Kurt Baptiste waiting in the wings
March 31, 2018 

While the Sydney Roosters lick their wounds off the back of an uncharacteristic defeat to the Warriors, Kurt Baptiste waits patiently in the wings.

It’s been a whirlwind few months for the crafty hooker; forced out of the Canberra Raiders due to salary cap constraints, playing for Papua New Guinea in the recent Rugby League World Cup, signing with Leigh in the English Super League before joining the Roosters.
All that came after rupturing his Achilles in the 2017 pre-season meaning he didn’t play NRL until Round 14.
He played only one game for Leigh Centurions before making the decision to come back to Australia due to personal reasons and is now in the mix for a Roosters spot. For the moment, Baptiste is playing for the Wyong Roos in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW as he searches for that NRL opportunity.
“Obviously I’ve got to play well for Wyong and hopefully I’ll get a shot at some stage,” Baptiste says to
“I got forced out of Canberra for salary cap reasons, and it just wasn’t for me over [in England].
“I’m just glad to be back in Australia now.”
The Roosters have enjoyed success with long-term hooker Jake Friend while rising star Victor Radley has the capacity to play both hooker and in the back row.
There is certainly scope for all three to fit in the starting 17 should coach Trent Robinson go that way, particularly if he is looking for something different after the Warriors defeat.
Baptiste has the utmost respect for Friend and is learning off him every day as he settles into Bondi life.
“[Friend] is a great player, he’s playing really well,” Baptiste says.
“I’m learning a lot off him at training, so it’s been good.
“I’m really enjoying myself here, it’s a great club and a privilege to be a part of this club.”
The Wyong Roos went down to the Warriors by a field goal in what was Baptiste’s second game for the club, where he came off the bench for a 42-minute stint in the middle of the game.
He played a similar role in his first game last week, where ironically, they won by a field goal.
“I’m looking to build my minutes up gradually and getting a bit of that game fitness back,” Baptiste says.
The Roosters play the Cronulla Sharks on Friday night while Wyong play the Bulldogs on Saturday, and it will be interesting to see who Baptiste lines up for.

 Papua New Guinea Anglican Church backs ecumenical earthquake response project
March 28, 2018

The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea (ACPNG) announced their support for the joint church earthquake response through the Church Partnership Program (CPP).

The attached press release was read to the Provincial Council meeting on Thursday,  March 22,  2018 in Lae, PNG.
The joint church response team are currently assessing and finalising preparation for response activities, which will focus on supporting affected communities to have access to food and non-food relief items, access to health and hygiene kits, temporary shelters, and counselling support.
The support will be facilitated through Anglicare PNG and the existing CPP network comprising of the seven mainline churches.
To donate to ABM’s PNG Earthquake Emergency Appeal in support ACPNG and Anglicare’s response, please visit

Barrick Gold founder and philanthropist Peter Munk dies at 90


Barrick Gold Corp.’s visionary founder Peter Munk, a man of lofty global ambitions who fulfilled them like few others, died Wednesday at the age of 90.
Peter Munk, founder and chairman of Barrick Gold Corporation puts on his trademark fedora at the conclusion of the company's annual general meeting April 30 2014. He died at the age of 90.-FRED LUM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

He racked up an impressive series of accomplishments in everything from custom stereos to tropical resorts, and established himself as one of Canada’s great entrepreneurs.
Mr. Munk will always be most renowned, however, as the founder and builder of one of the world’s largest gold mining empires while at the helm of Barrick Gold. It was there where he most displayed his willingness to take risks, spot overlooked opportunities, and challenge the status quo.
Peter Munk: The extraordinary life of a business legend, philanthropist and national champion
He was born in Budapest in 1927 and fled Hungary with his family in 1944 when Nazi Germany invaded. He arrived in Toronto in 1948 at the age of 20 and undertook a number of entrepreneurial business activities before founding Barrick in 1983.
“This is a country that does not ask about your origins, but concerns itself with your destiny,” Mr. Munk said in 2011.
He leaves Melanie, his wife of 45 years; five children, Anthony, Nina, Marc-David, Natalie and Cheyne; and 14 grandchildren.
Mr. Munk, whose cause of death was not disclosed, leaves behind a legacy of business success, charitable donations, and was an outspoken defender of the benefits of capitalism.
Toronto-based Barrick Gold grew into one of the world’s biggest gold producers under Mr. Munk’s leadership.
“When I joined Barrick in 2002, the company was in the news on an almost daily basis,” Barrick president Kelvin Dushnisky said.
“Words like innovative, entrepreneurial, instinctive, agile and astute were used regularly to describe the company. They could just as easily have been talking about Peter Munk himself, and, in many ways they were. Barrick is, after all, an extension of Peter’s personality.”
Starting in 1983 with a small Ontario underground mine producing 3,000 ounces of gold a year, Mr. Munk set Barrick on a path of exponential growth.
The company’s biggest break came in 1986, when he bought an underperforming mine in Nevada called Goldstrike. Few saw the potential of the mine, then producing 40,000 ounces of gold a year, but Mr. Munk made a bet on it and struck it big.
Before long, the mine was producing more than two million ounces a year and remains one of the company’s core mines, producing more than a million ounces a year.
Not one satisfied to settle on a tidy profit, Mr. Munk would continue to buy mines and take over companies.
By 2006, Barrick would established itself as the world’s biggest gold producer after gobbling up miner Placer Dome for US$10.4-billion.
Mr. Munk was able to continue to grow Barrick in part because he was an outsider to the mining world and approached it from a financial perspective, bringing in innovate hedging programs and financial discipline.
His continuous push for growth, however, also led him to trouble. Multibillion-dollar bets on Zambian copper and a megamine in the Andes at the height of the recent commodity boom weighed heavily on the company, and threatened to tarnish Mr. Munk’s legacy at Barrick.
And as the company’s mining empire expanded, so too did the social criticism, with accusations of abuse at mines in Papua New Guinea and Tanzania drawing protests and reprimands.
But Mr. Munk was unapologetic, and held fast in his convictions that the company was overall a source of good as part of a globalized world of capitalism.
“Someone has got to create and generate wealth,” Mr. Munk said at his last annual general meeting in 2014.
“I count Barrick’s biggest achievement in Canada ... the fact that we’ve been able to successfully employ young Canadians, young people globally, and provide them with opportunities.”
Mr. Munk had always been grateful for the opportunities that Canada, and his alma mater the University of Toronto, had provided him.
Born into a wealthy Jewish family in Budapest in 1927, Mr. Munk was forced to flee to Switzerland 1944 after the Nazis invaded.
Later following his uncle to Canada, he picked tobacco to fund his electrical engineering tuition, then got his entrepreneurial start with a Christmas tree business on the holiday break.
He went on to co-found Clairtone Sound Corp. with his friend David Gilmour, selling high-end custom stereo systems that were popular among the likes of Frank Sinatra and Oscar Peterson.
A move into manufacturing in Nova Scotia for subsidies, however, proved a flop. By 1971, the company was in trouble and Mr. Munk was forced out amid insider-trading accusations, leaving the province on the hook for more than $20-million.
From there Mr. Munk looked abroad to Fiji, helping to transform a single hotel holding into a $150-million enterprise eleven years later, before selling it and setting his sights back on Canada to start Barrick.
While growing Barrick, Mr. Munk would also establish himself as a real estate investor though Trizec Properties, which was sold to Brookfield Properties for US$8.9-billion in 2006, and as a marina developer for super-yachts after buying a port in Montenegro.
With the significant wealth Mr. Munk generated from his exploits, he was able to donate many millions in charity through his Aurea charitable foundation.
He became one of Canada’s best-known philanthropists, including a $175-million donation to the Toronto General Hospital in 1997. Barrick said he donated nearly $300-million to causes and institutions over his lifetime.
A Toronto cardiac centre bears his name thanks to more than $65-million in donation, as does the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs after a $40-million pledge.
“Peter Munk frequently told me that he derived the most joy and satisfaction from people that would stop him on the street, ask if he was Peter Munk, and when he said ‘Yes,’ they went on to thank him for saving their mother or father or other family member’s life through the care that was provided at the PMCC,” recalled Dr. Barry Rubin, medical director at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre.
Mr. Munk’s entrepreneurial and philanthropic legacies were made possible by his soaring ambitions, as rival Canadian gold miner Goldcorp’s chairman Ian Telfer said ahead of Mr. Munk’s retirement in 2014.
“He wanted to build a Canadian champion, he wanted to build a world class Canadian company, and we have very few world class Canadian companies.”

Friday, March 30, 2018

South Australia medical equipment to save PNG lives

By Benjamin Weir,
March 30, 2018

Life-saving medical equipment from the old Royal Adelaide Hospital will soon be on its way to earthquake-ravaged Papua New Guinea.
Medical equipment from the old Royal Adelaide Hospital will be donated to earthquake-hit PNG.

Shila Yukuli Paia from Flinders University has been leading the effort to collate and identify where the equipment will be most critically needed.
"I know that every item we send to PNG is going to be of great value, it is going to help save lives," she said.
One of the items, Ms Paia is most pleased about donating is a surgical microscope, which will go to the country's only cancer treatment centre.
But the PhD student said even simple items taken for granted in the developed world would be useful.
"Things like syringes are going to make a lot of difference because it means a mother can take her child to a clinic for immunisation," she said.
The country's already under-resourced highland regions were hit by a 7.5-magnitude quake in late February, killing more than 100 people.
"Access to services isn't there, basic primary health care isn't there, women are dying giving birth and children are dying," Ms Paia said.
The PNG donation is around one of 30 different countries including Tanzania, Timor Leste and Nepal that will benefit from equipment from the old RAH.
The hospital closed its doors in September 2017 after the opening of a new $2.3 billion facility on the outskirts of Adelaide's CBD.

Magnitude 6.9 quake off Papua New Guinea, tsunami danger passes | March 29, 2018

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck off the southern coast of Papua New Guinea’s New Britain island on Friday, initially triggering a tsunami warning for surrounding coastlines, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The shallow quake struck close to the coast, around 100 miles (162 km) southwest of Rabaul, a much more remote region than the country’s mountainous mainland highlands where a magnitude 7.5 tremor struck on Feb. 26, killing 100 people.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) issued a threat warning for the country’s coastline located within 300 km of the quake’s epicenter, but later advised that the threat had passed.

Dellie Minding, a receptionist at the Rabaul Hotel in the east of New Britain, around 20 minutes from the coast, told Reuters that the earthquake was felt, with many guests running outside, but there was no damage.

At the Rapopo Plantation Resort on the coast, receptionist May Dovon said she had not heard of any casualties or damage.

“We felt the earthquake, everything was moving so we went out of the building,” Dovon told Reuters. “Nothing was damaged.”

Australian authorities said there was no threat to the Australian coastline from the quake, which was initially reported as a magnitude 7.2.

Quakes are common in Papua New Guinea, which sits on the Pacific’s “Ring of Fire”, a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates. Rabaul lies in the shadow of Mount Tavurvur, an active volcano that destroyed the town in 1994 during a severe eruption.

The latest quake came as Papua New Guinea struggles to get aid to survivors of the Feb. 26 quake, which flattened whole villages and spoiled water supplies on the country’s main island.

The impoverished country is also missing its largest revenue earner since the quake forced a shutdown of Exxon Mobil Corp’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which has annual sales of $3 billion at current LNG prices. The company is still assessing quake damage at its facilities.

Huge 6.9 earthquake rocks Papua New Guinea triggering TSUNAMI warning

by Joey Millar,
March 29, 2018

Papua New Guinea's New Britain island was hit by an earthquake at 10.25pm BST (7.25am local time)

Downgraded from an initial magnitude of 7.2, the 6.9 earthquake struck 96 miles from the town of Kokopowhich is home to 20,000 people.
One resident of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea described the earthquake on tracker website CSEM-EMSC.
They said: “That was a massive jolt...I could feel it must be High intensity quake and ran out of the house. Thank God we are all safe.”
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has stated that the devastating quake could cause a tsunami of up to 300kilometres of the epicentre.
In its latest update, the body said: “Hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts.
“Tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to 1 meters above the tide level are possible for some coasts of Papa New Guinea.
“Tsunami waves are forecast to be less than 0.3 metres above the tide level for the coasts of the Salmon Islands.”
It is the third earthquake to have hit the region in 24 hours, each one increasing in strength.
Due to the sparely populated nature of the area, USGS does not anticipate much damage.
It estimated there was a 98 per cent chance between zero and one million dollar worth of damage will have been caused by the quake.
And it also estimated there was a 65 per cent chance no fatalities will have been suffered.
However it said there was a 30 per cent chance at least one person will have died and a four per cent chance at least 10 people will have been killed.
USGS said: “Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though resistant structures exist.
“The predominant vulnerable building types are mud wall and informal (metal, timber, GI etc.) construction.”
Papua New Guinea is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the most geologically active area in the world.
More than 90 per cent of earthquakes occur here, as well as 22 or the 25 biggest volcanic eruptions in history.
The volatility on the Pacific Ring of Fire over the past month or so has increased fears for the Big One: a major earthquake in a highly-populated area on the US west coast or in Japan.
And countries across the blog stretching from Chile in South America to New Zealand are preparing for more chaos and possible aftershocks and tremors after weeks of eruptions and quakes.
Since the 6.9 behemoth struck, another two quakes have been recorded at a magnitude of 5.3 and 5.1.
The two additional quakes both hit within half an hour of the first tremor.

Papua New Guinea: Highlands Earthquake Situation Report No. 5 (as of 29 March 2018)
March 29, 2018

This report is produced by the National Disaster Centre, the Office of the Resident Coordinator and the United Nations Coordination and Assessment (UNDAC) Team in collaboration with humanitarian partners.
 It was issued by the Disaster Management Team Secretariat. It covers the period from 21 March to 26 March 2018. The next report will be issued on or around 5 April 2018.


• Parliament passed two bills on 27 March 2018, formalising the State of Emergency and establishing a Restoration Authority for earthquake-affected provinces.

• UN and partners issued their initial earthquake response plan, calling for US$ 62 million to provide life-saving assistance and kick-start early recovery for 270,000 people in earthquake-affected areas. Of this, $9.2 million has been met from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

• Initial assessment results indicate that 73 per cent of earthquake affected areas are accessible by road, while 27 per cent require alternate approaches.

• Of 67 health facilities in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces damaged by the earthquake, 73 per cent are now open.

270,000 people in need of assistance

$62M funding required

58,677 people have received food assistance

280 hygiene kits distributed at family care centres in Tari

50 metric tons of relief items transported or stored

Situation Overview

On 27 March 2018, the Parliament passed two bills formalising the State of Emergency in earthquake-affected areas and establishing a Restoration Authority for the affected provinces.
The first bill formalised the State of Emergency initially declared by Prime Minister on 2 March 2018, while the second establishes the WESH Restoration Authority, covering Western, Enga, Southern Highlands, and Hela, as well as parts of West Sepik and Gulf provinces.
 The Restoration Authority will have similar functions and legal provisions to the Gazelle Restoration Authority, which was established to manage recovery and reconstruction in the wake of the 1994 volcanic eruptions on the Gazelle Peninsula (East New Britain province) and which is considered a best practice for comprehensive and long-term recovery and reconstruction in Papua New Guinea.
The Prime Minister indicated that the Restoration Act’s primary attention was rebuilding infrastructure and resettling people displaced by the earthquake, and that the Authority’s focus would be recovery and restoration of impacted social and economic infrastructure and services within the affected provinces.
The terms of the Restoration Act establish the Authority for a four-year period with a budget of K450 million initially allocated by the Government.
On 28 March, the Disaster Management Team (DMT) issued its initial earthquake response plan, which focuses on providing life-saving assistance and helping to re-establish basic services for 270,000 people in need of immediate assistance due to the 26 February 2018 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks and landslides.
The response plan, which supplements Government-led relief and recovery efforts, also aims to help restore livelihoods and self-reliance of affected people, and provide safety and protection for the most vulnerable, including women, girls, boys and men and persons living with disabilities.
It calls for US$ 62 million to support urgent action in seven areas, including Food Security; Health and Nutrition; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; Shelter; Protection; Education; and Logistics Coordination.
Sector-specific detail on priority response activities is provided below. According to the results of an initial Early Recovery Cluster assessment, 73 per cent of areas in which affected populations are located can be accessed by road, although some of people may not be able to access roads due to other factors (e.g., local conflict, terrain, etc.).
For affected populations in the other 27 per cent of affected areas, alternative approaches are required as road-based assistance or the use of commercial activities to deliver aid are not likely to be effective.
 Challenges related to physical access, as well as security considerations, remain a crosssectoral concern that is affecting the delivery of assistance, particularly in remote areas accessible only by helicopters and/or small planes.
Some affected communities are yet to be reached by response efforts, with many having moved to informal sites locally referred to as care centres.
Water collection and storage systems, health facilities and schools have been damaged and destroyed in affected areas, compromising the affected population’s access to basic services and increasing the risk of epidemic-prone diseases and malnutrition.
 Damage to household gardens and reduced market access due to damaged roads has increased the risk of food insecurity.

Oldest tree kangaroo In US, originally from PNG, dies At Roger Williams Park Zoo

by Talia Blake,

The oldest Matschie’s tree kangaroo in the country, Paul (pictured), has passed away due to complications from heart issues at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence.
Paul was 23 years, 5 months and 5 days old.

The zoo said the median life expectancy for this species in a zoo is about 13-14 years of age.
“It is a great testament to the love and care Paul received from his keepers, and veterinary staff that he lived such a long life,” said zoo executive director Dr Jeremy Goodman in a statement.
According to the zoo, Paul was born in October 1994 at the Metro Zoo in Miami, FL.  He then joined the Roger Williams Park Zoo family in 1997.
Goodman says there are only about 2,500 to 3,000 Matschie’s tree kangaroos in the wild population.
They are an endangered animal due to habitat loss from logging, oil and mineral mining and exploration.
The Matschie’s tree kangaroo is native to the Huon Peninsula of Papua New Guinea and the nearby island of Umboi.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Nautilus Minerals seafloor production vessel launched

by GlobeNewswire,

TORONTO, March 29, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nautilus Minerals Inc announces that its production support vessel was today launched at the Mawei shipyard in China.

 The vessel will be used by Nautilus and its partner, Eda Kopa (Solwara) Ltd at the Solwara 1 Project site, in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea.
Mike Johnston, Nautilus' CEO commented at the launch, "Today's launch is a significant milestone for the Company and the deep water seafloor mining industry.
"Mawei Yard has designed and built the world's first deep sea mining production support vessel, in cooperation with Nautilus and Marine Assets Corporation.

" This has involved much discussion, thought and innovation, to produce this magnificent vessel.
"The yard's efforts have been truly amazing, and I would like to thank the management and team at Mawei Shipbuilding for the terrific work that has been done to get the vessel to this stage of completion.

"We believe that mining the seafloor for much needed minerals will be a more cost effective and environmentally friendly source of obtaining high grade copper, gold and silver*.
"Nautilus further differentiates itself from others by having a 'first-mover advantage' which is protected by intellectual property and 20 patents.
"Once our new vessel is delivered, and subject to final funding, mining operations at 1600m water depth is anticipated to commence in late 2019."

*Nautilus Minerals seafloor production vessel launched Please refer to the NI 43-101 technical report dated February 27, 2018 titled "PEA of the Solwara 1 Project, Bismarck Sea, PNG" prepared by AMC Consultants Pty Ltd (AMC) (the "PEA Technical Report"), available at and the Company's website:

About the vessel

The production support vessel (PSV), which the company will lease from the owner thereof, provides a stable platform for operations using world-class dynamic positioning technologies to ensure it stays on location at Solwara 1 irrespective of wind and wave conditions.
The PSV has been designed for use in offshore construction and seafloor mining industries.

Papua New Guinea Cardinal speaks on climate change at college

March 28, 2018

Cardinal John Ribat of Papua New Guinea delivered an urgent message on “Climate Change, Sustainability and the Common Good” at the College of Mount St. Vincent in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
“Before it was a theory; now it is not a theory. It is a reality before us,” Cardinal Ribat said in his lecture.
 “Mother Earth is crying, and we have to do something. The whole of humanity, we all have a responsibility…We cannot fail to consider the effects on people’s lives.”
His talk reflected on Pope Francis’ 2015 environmental encyclical “Laudato Si (Praise Be to You),” calling on all people to care for God’s creation.
The cardinal’s presentation was held March 19 in the President’s Reception Room. About 65 people attended, including a freshman honors social entrepreneurship class, an environmental biology class and volunteers from several parishes.
While in New York, Cardinal Ribat also received a Loyola Medal from St. Ignatius Loyola parish in Manhattan, March 11 (CNY, March 15).
Papua New Guinea, in the southwestern Pacific, encompasses the eastern half of New Guinea and its offshore islands.
 It is among the nations considered most at risk from the effects of climate change. Organisers said Cardinal Ribat has worked diligently to share the experiences of the people of Papua New Guinea, heeding Pope Francis’ call for more commitments in seeking solutions to climate change.
The cardinal’s presentation featured a short video that included a dire predicament in Kiribati, a Central Pacific nation made up of 33 islands.
“The sea level is rising; the country is extremely vulnerable. It is a very serious situation,” said a woman in the video about how climate change is affecting the islands.
Climate change is adversely affecting the livelihood of the people and threatening the existence of the islands, several people in the video warn.
“We know it’s coming; they need to migrate,” a government official notes.
Another issue Cardinal Ribat raised was mining on the floor of the ocean, which he said could damage marine life as well as the livelihood of the people.
Grace Barry, an 18-year-old freshman who attended the lecture, said, “This is all so interesting. I had no idea what was going on in the South Pacific…It was a very well-rounded presentation.”
Ms. Barry said she understands the faith-based concerns about protecting the environment.
Cardinal Ribat was elevated as the first cardinal of Papua New Guinea by Pope Francis in November 2016.
The archbishop of Port Moresby is the nation’s first locally born cardinal and the first cardinal from the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.
His lecture was sponsored by the college’s accounting, business and economics, philosophy and religious studies departments and by campus ministry.
 Co-sponsors were the Sisters of Charity of New York’s Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation, and the Metro New York chapter of the Global Catholic Climate Movement.

Information: Sister Carol De Angelo, S.C., director of Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation, Sisters of Charity of New York, (718) 549-9200, ext. 264.

PM O’Neill thanks France for disaster relief

Prime Minister  Peter O’Neill has thanked the government of France for its recent shipment of food supplies to assist earthquake victims in the Highlands.
Papua New Guinea’s gratitude for relief support was conveyed by the prime minister to the new French Ambassador, Philippe Janvier-Kamiyama, in Port Moresby this morning.

“We thank the French government for the shipment of tuna, bully beef and rice that was delivered to Papua New Guinea on a French Navy frigate,” O'Neill said.
"These food supplies are now being delivered to affected communities in the disaster area.
“France and Papua New Guinea might be separated by great distance, but this gesture is a demonstration of the closeness of our relationship.”
O’Neill said engagement between PNG and France continues to grow as the construction phase of the Papua LNG project draws near.
“Our Government is working with French company TOTAL S.A. and other partners to advance Papua New Guinea’s next major gas project," he said.
“This project will inject billions of dollars into our economy, and employ and train thousands of Papua New Guineans.
“All parties will continue to advance the Papua LNG project and create new jobs for our people.”
 O’Neill welcomed Ambassador Janvier-Kamiyama to his new appointment and wished him success during his time in Papua New Guinea.

“Ambassador Janvier-Kamiyama advised me that Papua New Guinea was his first choice for his diplomatic posting, and we welcome him to our country," he said.
“I hope his contribution further increases trade and investment between our countries, and that he also has the opportunity to travel throughout Papua New Guinea and have good experiences in our country.”

Touching down with relief in Fuma

PORT MORESBY– ExxonMobil PNG is continuing to support local and international aid agencies to provide support to earthquake relief efforts.
This week ExxonMobil PNG staff touched down by helicopter in the remote village of Fuma in Western Province.

 The earthquake rendered river water undrinkable, and flooding swept away canoes – cutting off the only mode of transportation across the river to reach their gardens – blocking access to food.
No roads lead to Fuma; supplies can only be delivered by air.
  Food water, tarps solar lights, along with Mum/baby kits provided by the New Zealand government, were included in the airdrop.

The appreciation from the community, who had no expectation of help coming, was a humbling experience for the ExxonMobil PNG team. 

Why a Papua New Guinea company is taking over one of Alaska’s biggest oil fields

by Elizabeth Harball,
March 28, 2018

Before getting in to who’s drilling there and why, let’s make one thing clear about this oil field: the state of Alaska thinks it’s a very big deal.
Oil Search Alaska LLC President Keiran Wulff at the company’s Anchorage office.Photo by Elizabeth Harball/Alaska’s Energy Desk

“Literally, if you line up the big fields up on the North Slope, this probably ranks third behind Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk,” said Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack.
Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk, of course, are the giant oil fields responsible for making Alaska the oil state it is today.
And on a chunk of state and native owned land west of Prudhoe Bay called the Pikka Unit, one company thinks there might be over a billion barrels of recoverable oil. Mack said the oil in this area alone could reverse the long-term decline in the amount of oil flowing down the trans-Alaska pipeline.
“If all goes well, it could lead to not only flattened production, but also increased production,” Mack said.
So last fall, when a company a lot of Alaskans hadn’t heard of moved to take over developing this oil field, it got people’s attention.
Oil Search is a company based in Papua New Guinea, a country just south of the equator and just north of Australia, where it also has offices.
An oil project in the Arctic may seem like an odd leap for a company from an island nation in the South Pacific.
But in a recent interview, the newly-minted president of Oil Search Alaska, Keiran Wulff, said the company is serious about its new venture.
“We see Alaska as a place of enormous opportunity,” Wulff said.
Wulff said its first planed development in Alaska could represent a significant investment for Oil Search — in the range of $4 billion to $6 billion.
 The company bought a significant stake in the project last year from its main partner, Denver-based Armstrong Oil and Gas, with an option to take over the rest of Armstrong’s stake if all goes well. (The Spanish oil company Repsol continues to own a significant percentage.)
Last week, Oil Search officially took over as operator of the field.
 That means when it comes to actually getting an oil development off the ground, Oil Search is in the drivers seat.
Sitting in the conference room of the company’s new offices in downtown Anchorage, which it now shares with Armstrong, Wulff makes it clear Oil Search is gearing up for what could be something big.
“We’ve just taken the whole floor here — we’re actually expanding so that we can fit over 120 people on this floor, and the majority of them will be Alaskans,” Wulff said.
So why did Oil Search come to Alaska?
 The company operates all the producing oil fields in Papua New Guinea.
 But the bulk of what it’s invested in there is gas  — it’s a partner in a major LNG project there — so the company decided it needed to balance its portfolio.
True to its name, Wulff said Oil Search came to Alaska searching for more oil.
“Gas projects — as the state’s finding out right now — often take many years to come to fruition, whereas oil projects are a lot quicker to market, so it’s very important for any company to have a balance between oil and gas,” Wulff said.
It might not seem like Papua New Guinea and Alaska have much in common. But Wulff said his company sees a lot of similarities.
“Papua New Guinea is one of the most challenging places to work on the planet.
" It’s very remote, very mountainous, there are no roads, there is no infrastructure to speak of.
"And everything has to be brought in on helicopters and such,” Wulff explained.
Beyond logistics, Wulff said Oil Search has experience negotiating with local communities living near where the company wants to drill.
 Wulff thinks in some ways, communities in Papua New Guinea and communities on the North Slope have similar values.
“[They are] very passionate about their environment, very passionate about their way of life.
"And so an important part there — and a strong analogy between Papua New Guinea and Alaska — is the commitment and passion of the local community to their areas, and that’s something you’ve got to respect and be very cognizant of,” Wulff said.
Wulff said Oil Search’s discussions with Nuiqsut — the community closest to the company’s first planned development — are still in their infancy.
 Kuukpik, the village corporation for Nuiqsut, has spoken in favor of the development, but records from public meetings show that some in the community have concerns about the project’s potential impacts.
“We’ve been doing a lot of listening,” Wulff said.
And that’s not the only remaining issue.
 Oil Search wants to drill a few more appraisal wells to get a better idea of how much oil it’s actually sitting on.
“Look, I think it’s still a long way to go before people understand how big this field is,” Wulff said.
 “Our company is quite a conservative company.
" We don’t over-promote and we don’t over-promise.
" Our style is much more to under-promise and over-deliver.”
Depending on whether and how all the details come together, it’s possible that by 2023, a Papua New Guinea company could begin producing from one of the biggest oil developments in Alaska’s history.

ADB, JICA to support 20,000 smallholder farmers , including PNG, with $163 million inclusive agribusiness deal
March 28, 2018

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (28 March 2018) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) today signed $163 million in loan agreements with Olam International Limited (OIL) and Café Outspan Vietnam Limited (COVL), a subsidiary of OIL.
The loans will help improve inclusive and sustainable agricultural value chains, directly benefiting up to 20,000 smallholder farmers in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Timor-Leste, and Viet Nam.
ADB’s assistance includes a $83 million loan to OIL and a $5 million loan to COVL.
 The project is ADB’s first nonsovereign assistance directly cofinanced by JICA, which will lend $75 million to COVL.
“Developing formal value chains is essential for farmers in Asia and the Pacific to integrate with the global economy and increase the value of their products,” said ADB Investment Specialist Juhyun Jeong.
 “ADB and JICA’s partnership with OIL and COVL will help smallholder farmers expand their production and operations, improving livelihoods by promoting inclusive and sustainable development.”
“Olam’s comprehensive and grassroots approach to improve agricultural value chains brings significant positive impacts to farmers and the agribusiness industry,” said JICA’s Investment Officer Gyo Shibata.
“For the partnership with ADB’s private sector operations, we are excited to ink the first direct cofinancing deal and explore further collaborations.”
“This loan agreement underpins the mutual aims of Olam, ADB, and JICA to support the economic prosperity of farmers as well as help them become stewards of the environment—essential for the future of agricultural production,” said Prakash Jhanwer, Regional Head for South East Asia at Olam International.
The Agricultural Value Chain Development Project will support OIL’s $211 million investment plan until 2019 by financing an expansion in the firm’s processing of midstream products, while providing permanent working capital investments for smallholder farmers, particularly in Indonesia (coffee and cocoa); PNG (coffee and cocoa); Timor-Leste (coffee); and Viet Nam (coffee, cashew, and pepper).
The assistance will also help OIL develop processing plants to create a more seamless integration of farmers, markets, and customers, adding more value in local markets and improving agricultural value chains.
The project includes $3 million in technical assistance (TA), partially financed by the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in Asia, to provide capacity building training to about 20,000 smallholder coffee farmers across the project countries.
 The TA includes training in avoiding deforestation and increasing productivity through climate-smart agriculture practices, including water harvesting and soil management.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region.

Olam International is a leading agribusiness operating across the value chain in 66 countries, supplying various products across 18 platforms to more than 22,000 customers worldwide.

JICA, based in Tokyo, is the Japanese government agency to execute official development assistance and committed to take the lead in forging bonds across the world through contributing to sustainable socioeconomic development in developing countries.

Australia’s illegal fishing crackdown leads to PNG national detainments

Jason Holland
March 28, 2018

Two banana boats from Papua New Guinea (PNG) have been apprehended in the Torres Strait by Australian authorities for suspected illegal fishing.
The Australian Border Force (ABF), working under the operational command of Maritime Border Command (MBC), apprehended the first vessel earlier this month in the shallow waters of Saibai Island, in the far north of Torres Strait.

Four PNG nationals were later interviewed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) in relation to unlicensed commercial fishing for crab and tropical rock lobster.
The boat, the catch, and the equipment onboard were seized.
The second vessel was sighted by an MBC surveillance aircraft on 15 March inside the Torres Strait Protected Zone (TSPZ), and was intercepted by an ABF vessel near Warrior Reef.
A crew of four was found to be in possession of 80 tropical rock lobster tails, far in excess of the permitted quantity of six. Their boat, catch, and equipment were seized, and the master and crew were handed over to PNG officials for further investigation.
Under the terms of the Torres Strait Treaty, PNG nationals suspected of fishing illegally in Australian waters are repatriated to PNG for processing.
Evidence packs for both apprehensions were supplied to PNG officials to assist with prosecutions.
“We are aware of the additional considerations that need to be taken into account under the terms of the Torres Strait Treaty, to allow the traditional way of life for PNG villagers and Torres Strait islanders to continue,” said Peter Venslovas, general manager of operations at AFMA.
“However, these considerations will not prevent swift and decisive action from being taken when necessary, and there will be no leeway given to those who break the law.”
When it comes to fishing rights, the Torres Strait Treaty fulfills the following key functions:
  • Ensures that commercial fishing in the TSPZ is in harmony with traditional fishing;
  • Provides for commercial fishing by both Australia and PNG;
  • Includes arrangements for the sharing of the commercial catch; and
  • Allows both countries to work together in licensing and policing, as well as in the preservation, protection and management of fisheries.

Demonstrate generosity and sacrifice for the good of our communities: Prime Minister O’Neill’s 2018 Easter Message

To the men, women and children of Papua New Guinea.
From my family and the National Government, I extend our warmest and most sincere greetings at Easter.
This is a time of year when we must reflect on the value of generosity and sacrifice for the good of our communities and loved ones.
When Jesus Christ died on the cross for us he made the most enormous sacrifice.
In our daily lives, particularly this Good Friday and Easter Sunday, we must remember this sacrifice for humanity.
Our Christian faith teaches us to be tolerant, to love our brothers and sisters and to live by example in our words and actions.
In our daily lives we have to make sacrifices and be generous in all of our dealings.
Since February we have seen sacrifice from our people in the response to the devastating Highlands earthquake.
Our emergency services personnel, disaster response workers, government officials, workers from the private sector and people from churches and NGOs have been working tirelessly.
Together they are doing everything they can to restore normalcy to the lives of those in the disaster zone, and to rebuild towns and villages.
There is a lot of work to do in the coming months and years as our nation recovers from this disaster.
In our prayers this Easter we must remember Papua New Guineans who died as a result of the earthquake, and the hardship that has been imposed on the survivors.
We live in a great country, with thousands of years of rich cultural tradition, and a country that finds unity in our diversity.
This year we will be welcoming more than fifteen thousand friends from around the Asia Pacific region to Papua New Guinea for APEC.
This includes the leaders of 20 of the largest economies in the world, accounting for more than half of total global trade and investment.
This is our chance to showcase our nation and our potential to the world, to increase jobs and to strengthen our economy.
We are currently going through massive change, and we are seeing improvements right around the country.
This positive change needs to be embraced by every person in Papua New Guinea and together we can drive this forward.
No matter what job we do in Government, in business, or other organisations, we need to set an example for others.
The leaders of this nation in particular, must lead by example for our people.
We are now in the first year of the 1th Parliament of Papua New Guinea.
All Members of the Parliament have made commitments and promises to our people.
We have all sworn an oath and we have promised the Nation that we will work hard, be honest and make personal sacrifice for Papua New Guinea.
Success is never served on a silver platter, but it comes about through hard work and commitment.
Together we will continue to advance our nation, educate our children, improve healthcare, make our communities safer and build the infrastructure needed for an even stronger nation.
May God continue to Bless you and your families this Easter, and may God continue to Bless Papua New Guinea.

Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP,
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

One month of earthquakes in Papua New Guinea leave children traumatised


Download photos of child-friendly spaces

PORT MORESBY, 28 March 2018 – One month after a series of earthquakes of magnitude 5-7.5 hit four Highlands provinces of Papua New Guinea, children are still in shock and suffering significant trauma and stress which could have negative consequences to their long-term well-being, UNICEF said today.
In Mendi, Papua New Guinea, young earthquake survivors gather at a UNICEF-supported child friendly space to play and talk with counselors where young children under age five use puppets to work through their emotions.-Pictures by UNICEF

“Children are still being confronted by fear, loss, confusion, family separation, deteriorated living conditions and disruption of social and school activities,” said Karen Allen, UNICEF Representative for PNG.

“Psychological damage among children should not be overlooked.
" It can have a negative impact on children’s brain development, mental health and overall wellbeing in the long-run.”
Children who have suffered from trauma have an increased risk of delayed development, mental health disorders, depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide, she added.
Before the earthquakes, children in PNG were already at high risk of violence and abuse.
 Available data indicate that girls and boys in PNG experience some of the highest rates of violence in Asia-Pacific region.
About 75 per cent of children report experiences of physical abuse and about 80 per cent experience emotional abuse during their lifetime.
A recent Médecins Sans Frontières report showed that 12,000 cases of family and sexual violence are treated each year in Tari Family Support Centre located in Hela Province, where the worst earthquake damage occurred.
The PNG Government estimates 270,000 people are in need of urgent assistance, including 125,000 children.
Of those children, about 15-20 per cent require psychological support, according to the World Health Organization.
Thanks to the support from UNICEF Australia, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, and the Government of Australia, UNICEF PNG is currently setting up 26 child-friendly spaces (CFS) to provide psychosocial support services for more than 14,000 children in the severely-affected areas of Hela and Southern Highland provinces.

 The CFS are safe places where children can receive psychosocial support to regain a sense of normalcy, play and learn life skills including good hygiene practice.
In addition, outreach teams will be dispatched to affected communities to organise recreation activities such as music and sports, as well as identify children in need of psychosocial support.

To date, UNICEF has already delivered 23 metric tonnes of relief supplies to Papua New Guinea, including tents and tarpaulins, water purification tablets, hygiene kits and learning kits.
Some 12,000 packets of therapeutic food and vaccines to protect 31,700 children against the increasing risk of disease outbreak and malnutrition have also been delivered.
UNICEF needs $14.6 million to help children and families affected by the earthquake over the next year.
 This will focus on providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene in temporary shelters, psycho-social support in safe places, vaccinations and malnutrition treatment and support for children to return to school.

For more information, please contact: Nattha Keenapan, UNICEF PNG, +675 7083 8028, +668 6616 7555,

Australian medical staff deploy to Papua New Guinea

REPORT from Government of Australia Published on 28 Mar 2018 

Joint media release

Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP
Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells

As part of Australia's post-earthquake assistance to Papua New Guinea, an Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) has travelled to Papua New Guinea to assist with health needs following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that hit the Highlands region on 26 February.
The UN estimates that 270,000 people in the Highlands require immediate humanitarian assistance, including more than 18,000 who are living in evacuation centres.
An assessment by PNG authorities shows that 25 out of 77 health facilities in the two worst-affected provinces, Hela and Southern Highlands, have been destroyed or forced to close.
The 15-member AUSMAT team arrived in Papua New Guinea on 26 March and has deployed to Mendi Hospital in the Southern Highlands Province.
 These Australian doctors and nurses will work with Papua New Guinean health workers to provide emergency health services, including maternal and child health care, to those in need.
The specialists will also work with local health officials and humanitarian organisations to address public health issues and reduce the potential for disease outbreaks.

AUSMAT is one of the few national Emergency Medical Teams globally-verified by the World Health Organisation.
 The team going to PNG is drawn from state and territory-based health services including the Northern Territory, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. AUSMAT is coordinated by the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) in Darwin.
The support is in addition to $5 million in humanitarian support and the deployment of the ADF personnel and assets to assist in the response.

Restoration Authority Bill approved

by Malum Nalu,
March 28, 2018

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has thanked members of Parliament for their unity in passing the Restoration Authority Bill 2018 to rebuild infrastructure damaged by the earthquake in Western, Enga, Southern Highlands and Hela.
“I’m very grateful that it was passed on voices,” he told The National.
“We have to sympathise with our people and try to get the authority into operation as quickly as possible, especially in restoring key infrastructure, particularly schools and health centres.
“It’s something that I want them (authority) to focus on – to get kids back to school and make sure that the sick are being looked after.”
The four provinces have been have been declared “emergency” areas.
The legislation was approved during a special sitting of Parliament yesterday.

  • Establishes the Restoration Authority;
  • coordinates and supervises restoration in the declared emergency areas of Western, Enga, Southern Highlands and Hela following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake; and,
  • Makes provision for the functions and powers of the authority and for related purposes.

The Restoration Authority will also take under its umbrella parts of Gulf and West Sepik affected by the earthquake which hit the provinces on the morning of Feb 26.
It will have wide-ranging powers although its main function is to oversee and coordinate all restoration activities in the affected provinces.
O’Neill said it was one of the most devastating earthquakes in the country’s history which affected the six provinces.
“The earthquake has caused loss of lives, many homes and gardens have been destroyed, many families and people have been displaced, many key social and economic infrastructure have been destroyed,” he said.
“Our Government is acting swiftly to declare a national disaster, and establish a relief supply coordination team to coordinate relief supplies to affected areas in the six provinces.
“This relief operation is still going on with the support of our private sector, our development partners, our bilateral partners including Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, the United States, Israel and many others.
“Given the massive operation including distribution of relief supplies and restoration of social and economic infrastructure, the Government through the National Executive Council (NEC) recommended the declaration of a state of emergency.
“This is simply because Parliament is the only authority that declares a state of emergency.”
Cabinet will now appoint a controller to take charge of the entire operation.
The authority will have a prominent person as chairman, four members of the public service with at least two heads of department, and four members (one each) from the provincial governments of Western, Hela, Enga and Southern Highlands.
Members will be appointed by Cabinet with set terms and conditions.
They will also be entitled (if they are not members of the public service) fixed fees and allowances.

New Zealand and PNG foreign affairs ministers to meet relief aid

by Leah Te Whata,
March 26, 2018

More than 50,000 people have been left displaced in Papua New Guinea following a series of earthquakes.
 Papua New Guinea's Minister of Foreign Affairs is in New Zealand to discuss relief efforts.
Approximately 140 people died after the first quake hit Papua New Guinea a month ago.
Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Rimbink Pato says, "Because of the remoteness of the localities people are based and live, we don't have the up to date statistics of exactly what's happened and who's affected".
Pato is in New Zealand and says he has come to thank the government for the aid provided to them.
"New Zealand has been able to quickly and efficiently mobilise to support a neighbour in need".
New Zealand initially committed $500,000 and a C130 Hercules to take emergency supplies to PNG followed by a further $3mil to help recovery efforts on the ground.
The Chairman of the New Zealand Papua New Guinea Business Council, Tamati Norman says,”There's a lot of work.  We need to address the present issues and we need to look at the rebuilding efforts which will take place sometime after we have a final assessment".
Norman is currently rallying support for an aid mission which is set to take place later this year.
"The aim is to raise $6,000 which isn't a huge amount of money, but to have a plane in the air flying out to villages where there are medicines not currently reaching," says Norman.
Pato is meeting with Winston Peters today ahead of his speech at the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs.

Australia needs to shore up development aid to match its reinforced engagement

by MD Staff,
March 27, 2018

Australia’s active global engagement on development and its focus on fragile small island states and disaster risk reduction are commendable.
However successive cuts to the country’s aid budget since 2013 are impairing its efforts, according to a new OECD Review.
The latest DAC Peer Review of Australia says the introduction of a robust performance-based framework for aid policy in 2014 and the integration of aid agency AusAID into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2013 – though not without challenges – have encouraged innovation and a more development-friendly outlook on trade.
Australia now needs to restore its official development assistance (ODA), which projections indicate could drop to an all-time low of 0.22% of gross national income in 2017/18.
“Australia uses its voice on the global stage to advocate for responses to challenges faced by small island developing states, in particular to build resilience and mitigate disaster risk.
"At the same time the decline in aid flows, despite steady economic growth, has affected the scope of development and humanitarian programmes, and we encourage Australia to find a way to reverse this trend,” said OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Chair Charlotte Petri Gornitzka.
Australia provided USD 3.28 billion in net ODA in 2016 (0.27% of GNI), down 5.4% from USD 3.49 billion (0.29% of GNI) in 2015 and slipping further away from a target for donors to provide 0.7% of GNI as ODA. By comparison, the average ratio of ODA to GNI for DAC donors was 0.32% in 2016, and six DAC members have now reached a UN target of 0.7%.
The top five recipients of Australian aid in 2015/16 were Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Viet Nam and the Philippines.
Australia sends slightly less of its aid to least-developed countries than the DAC average but over a quarter of its ODA goes to small island developing states which are vulnerable to crises, including from weather-related shocks such as cyclones.
The Review says Australia fully implemented four and partially implemented another four of 12 recommendations in a 2013 Peer Review. The four recommendations not implemented included one to reach a stated goal of ODA at 0.5% of GNI by 2016/17.
Each DAC member is reviewed every five years in order to monitor its performance, hold it accountable for past commitments and recommend improvements.
 Reviews use input from officials in the review country and partner countries – Solomon Islands for this Review – as well as civil society and the private sector.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Women and girls affected by earthquake in Papua New Guinea receive Canadian aid | March 26, 2018

Earthquake survivors in Papua New Guinea are receiving life-saving aid from Canada thanks to $410,000 from the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund.
photo: CARE Canada

When a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hits, extensive damage is extremely likely. When one hit Papua New Guinea in late February, the extent of the damage remained unclear for many days because of the remoteness and lack of access to the affected regions. The country was also racked by more than 130 aftershocks, many over magnitude 6.
The quake, and resulting landslides and collapsing walls, killed more than 100 people, with reports of casualties still being confirmed.
More than 544,000 people were affected, with approximately 230,000 in need of immediate assistance.
Humanitarian Coalition member CARE Canada is responding to their needs, with a strong focus on helping women and girls.
“A major concern for CARE was the gender disparity that exists in Papua New Guinea, and we know disasters can often acerbate that gap,” says Kevin Dunbar, director of global programs and impact at CARE Canada.
“Women in Papua New Guinea deal with excessive workloads, lack of access to safe water, poor access to health centres, high number of pregnancies and high rates of family violence.”
CARE’s response plan will improve access to health, education, shelter and clean water to more than 12,000 people.

The Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund is a joint mechanism between the Humanitarian Coalition, its member agencies and Global Affairs Canada.

Earthquake of magnitude 6.6 strikes off Papua New Guinea; no reports of casualties

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - A shallow 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck off Papua New Guinea on Monday (March 26), the US Geological Survey said, the latest in a series to hit the region in recent days, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
The earthquake struck 180km west of the town of Rabaul, on New Britain island, at a shallow depth of 10km, the USGS said.PHOTO: USGS
The quake struck 180km west of the town of Rabaul, on New Britain island, at a depth of 10 km, the USGS said.
The quake was initially recorded with a magnitude of 7.0 but was later downgraded. There was no immediate tsunami warning.
“We are okay. No one is injured,” said Sylvia Ombul, night desk supervisor at the Kimbe Bay Hotel in the port town of Kimbe, about 140 km to the west of the quake.
“Right now at the hotel all my guests are okay,” Ombul added.
She described the quake as “not really big”.
Papua New Guinea, one of the world’s poorest countries, is still reeling a month after a magnitude 7.5 quake hit some 900 km to the west in its rugged and remote highlands, killing at least 100 people as landslides buried villages.

Papua New Guinea: A month after killer quake, UN on the ground to save lives | March 26, 2018

According to the Government, an estimated 270,000 people are still in need of urgent assistance, including 125,000 children, in the wake of a 7.5 magnitude earthquake on 26 February that killed at least 100 people and injured many more in landslides and collapsing houses across four remote provinces of the Pacific island nation.
UNICEF/Nybo: Relief workers unload food aid flown in by helicopter for people affected by the 7.5 magnitude earthquake which struck Papua New Guinea in February 2018.
Children’s lives are in danger.
With limited access to basic necessities, families are struggling to survive in crowded shelters, or to rebuild homes and food gardens.
“Children’s lives are in danger,” said Karen Allen, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative for the country.
“With limited access to basic necessities, families are struggling to survive in crowded shelters, or to rebuild homes and food gardens.”
Last week alone, UNICEF delivered 23 metric tonness of relief supplies to the nation, including tents and tarpaulins, water purification tablets, hygiene kits, blankets and learning kits.
UNICEF/Bell: UNICEF staff unload emergency supplies in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for earthquake response efforts.

To date, UNICEF has already delivered 12,000 packets of therapeutic food and enough vaccines to protect 31,700 children against the increasing risk of disease outbreak and malnutrition.
Papua New Guinea already had low vaccination coverage and the world’s fourth highest rate of chronically malnourished children.
UNICEF is working with the Government and partners to ensure humanitarian supplies are distributed to affected communities as quickly as possible.
UN Population Fund (UNFPA), World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Women are also on the ground.
UNICEF needs $14.6 million to provide humanitarian assistance to children and families affected by the earthquake over the next nine months.
The island, on a volatile seismic fault system, has been experiencing a spark of activity, with the latest strike by a 6.6 magnitude quake several hours ago, according to media reports. 
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, adopted at the UN World Conference in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015, aims to substantially reduce global disaster mortality and the number of affected people by 2030.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Papua New Guinea sea-sponge derivatives able to inhibit, attack growth of HIV in infected cells: SFU study

by Randy Shore,
March 23, 2018

Half a dozen novel compounds derived from sea sponges are able to inhibit human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in infected cells, according to a newly published study from Simon Fraser University.
Jaspis coriacea sponge is the source of bengamide A, a compound with potential in the fight against HIV. 

Simon Fraser University researchers

These compounds attack HIV’s ability to grow in a way that is different from available drugs, which helps identify weaknesses of the virus that could be exploited by some future therapy, said lead author Ian Tietjen.
“The more we know about retroviruses, the better we can find ways to kill them,” he said.
HIV infection attacks the immune system and, over time, leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS.
In particular, bengamide A — derived from a sea sponge native to the waters of Papua New Guinea — was quite potent at concentrations similar to those of many licensed antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV.
But it inhibits HIV in a way that no licensed drug does, which may also make it useful for treating drug-resistant HIV or as a road map to a therapy that targets replication.
“One of the challenges of HIV is that when it infects a cell, it integrates itself into the host’s DNA, where it stays for the rest of people’s lives, making new virus,” said Tietjen.
The new compound blocks the ability of HIV to create copies of itself from its hiding place.
While this obscure compound may never become a drug, what is potentially more important is the knowledge that HIV can be stopped by attacking the replication process in a particular way, he said.
Natural and synthesized bengamide compounds have shown some promise as cancer drugs and antibiotics.
One version was tested as an anticancer agent in a phase one clinical trial, but it was abandoned due to adverse reactions.
“Bengamide A was not toxic to host cells, which is a good sign for being a drug candidate,” said Tietjen.
“Of course, that’s completely different from testing bengamide A in an animal or a human, so there’s a long way to go before it becomes a drug.”
The six compounds identified as HIV inhibitors were selected from a field of 252 compounds supplied by chemist Raymond Andersen at the University of British Columbia.
“This was the result of good collaboration with our partners at UBC, who collected sea sponges and other microorganisms from around the world and pulled novel compounds,” said Tietjen.
“They didn’t know what (the compounds) could do and that’s where we came in.”
That the researchers were able to identify so many potentially useful compounds from such a small number of candidates underscores the value of preserving the world’s ecosystems, he said.
“Sometimes we have to test hundreds of thousands of synthetic compounds to get that many hits,” he said.
“The oceans are reservoirs of organisms with all kinds of therapeutic potential.”

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Beautiful Bahá’í House of Worship unveiled for Papua New Guinea capital

by Lucy Wang,

The temples of the Bahá’í Faith are renowned for their beauty—and the new national Bahá’í House of Worship in Papua New Guinea will be no exception.

The Bahá’í International Community unveiled last Wednesday the design for the national Baha’i House of Worship of Papua New Guinea, a latticed domed temple open to all regardless of religion.
Locally-based architects Henry Lape and Saeed Granfar created the design with the country’s over 700 distinct cultural groups in mind in hopes of creating “a universal theme.”

Last Wednesday's Bahá’í House of Worship design unveiling was celebrated during Naw-Ruz, the Bahá’í New Year, at the temple’s proposed site in Papua New Guinea’s capital of Port Moresby.
Set overlooking the Waigani valley, the proposed temple is located on an elevated plot with the advantage of views and cool breezes even in the heat of the day.
The latticed dome temple is open for cross ventilation and alludes to the country’s traditional craft of weaving.

“One subtle image which time and again stood out to us was that of the art of weaving,” continued Mr. Lape and Mr. Granfar in their talk.
“In traditional village life, which remains alive and vibrant in Papua New Guinea today, and in urban households alike, woven surfaces and objects are found in abundance.
"It is an image which resonates closely with ‘home’ for many of us, a functional and inherently beautiful art form which we interact with daily.”
 Weaving imagery also ties into Baha’i’s embrace of peoples from all backgrounds. “The craft of weaving is analogous to the process of building unity in diversity. "Individual strands come together to form something infinitely stronger than the object constituent parts, and the whole draws on the contributions of each individual strand.”
As specified by Bahá’í scripture, the national Bahá’í House of Worship in Papua New Guinea features nine sides, each with a gable-roofed entrance.
 The temple will be able to seat 350 people.

+ Bahá’í International Community

Via ArchDaily

Images via Bahá’í International Community