The United Nations has withdrawn eighteen of its staff from the troubled Southern Highlands in Papua New Guinea due to ongoing civil unrest.
The UN staff were providing assistance to victims of February's 7.5 earthquake in neighbouring Hela province which caused widespread destruction and claimed around 150 lives.
The agency says the staff were relocated from Mendi to Mt Hagen late last week where a temporary operational base has been established.
This came after a rampage by supporters of a losing election candidate who destroyed a commercial aircraft, set fire to the local courthouse, the provincial governor's house and other buildings in Mendi last Thursday.
It prompted the national government to declare a state of emergency in the province the next day, suspending the priovincial government and ordering a security forces callout to Southern Highlands.
This region was already under state of emergency provisions due to the earthquake disaster.
The Post Courier reports the UN resident coordinator Gianluca Rampolla saying the security situation is volatile.
He said UNICEF fully intended to fulfil its humanitarian commitments to children in Hela and the Southern Highlands and would return as soon as the situation stabilises.
PNG police said two warehouses containing relief supplies for earthquake victims were looted last week during the unrest in Mendi.