Australian medical staff deployed to PNG

12:24 pm on 29 March 2018

An Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) has arrived in Papua New Guinea to help out with health needs following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck on 26 February.

PNG Prime MInister Peter O'Neill consoles a woman in earthquake-affected Hela province.

PNG Prime MInister Peter O'Neill consoles a woman in earthquake-affected Hela province. Photo: PNG PM Media Office

The UN estimates that 270,000 people in the Highlands need immediate humanitarian assistance, including more than 18,000 who are living in evacuation centres.

Local assessments showed 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 team are at Mendi Hospital in the Southern Highlands Province.

They will work with locals to provide emergency health services, including maternal and child health care, as well as help 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 $US5 million in humanitarian support and the deployment of the ADF personnel and assets to assist in the response.

UN Fund gives millions to help PNG quake recovery

Meanwhile, the UN has mobilised an additional $USD9.2 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for the Highlands.

The UN said funds would enable life-saving assistance to 144,172 people in the two most affected provinces of Hela and the Southern Highlands.

The UN Resident Coordinator in PNG, Mr Gianluca Rampolla said the funds would also support the restoration of health facilities

On Tuesday PNG Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill acknowledged the support of the UN in his address to the special parliament sitting on the earthquake response.

These funds are in addition to the UN's emergency services and relief supplies already dispatched and the response coordination support provided to the Government of PNG, since the onset of the disaster.

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