Coordination Activities in the Field
|Income from Voluntary Contributions1||277,813|
|Consultant Fees and Travel||–|
|Supplies, Materials, Furniture and Equipment||46,479|
|Fellowships, Grants and Contributions||800|
|Programme Support Costs||29,502|
|Total Expenditure (US$)||256,440|
|1 Includes allocations from the Field Coordination Reserve Fund of US$ 184,500|
A number of disasters struck Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 2006, including floods in Central Province in February, Sulu Range seismic and volcanic activity in August and Mt Tavurvur eruptions in October. The five highlands provinces experienced chronic flooding in the first six months of the year, and landslides occurred in Morobe Province. Southern Highlands Province (SHP) was affected by a series of localized food shortages due to the prolonged wet season, in addition to tribal conflict and small arms proliferation. The declaration of a State of Emergency in SHP in August 2006 underlined the desperate state of affairs in the resource-rich province. The low-lying islands of PNG continued to lose land as a result of rising sea levels. The population of Manam, which was evacuated as a result of a volcanic eruption in 2004, continued to live in Care Centres with humanitarian assistance provided under difficult circumstances. Crime rates across the country remained consistently high, while access to government social services was limited. HIV/ AIDS continued to rise, with an official prevalence rate of 0.9–4.4 percent.
The threat of avian influenza in Indonesia crossing the PNG border remained strong. There were growing concerns about limits in animal and human health surveillance services, hygiene, preventative public education and capacity to respond.
The OCHA office in PNG was established in 2006 within the Office of the RC to act as a focal point for emergencies in the United Nations system and to support the RC in times of emergency. It also plays an important linking role between the UNCT, the National Disaster Centre (NDC) and other humanitarian agencies. The OCHA office in PNG is an integral part of the OCHA regional team, working in close consultation with the RDRA for the Pacific in Suva and reporting to the OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RO-AP) in Bangkok.
The OCHA office in PNG has undertaken a wide range of activities including inter-agency field assessment missions, establishment of coordination forums and drafting of information materials. Inter-agency field assessment missions were conducted in six priority provinces (two in relation to new disasters) to ascertain the level of disaster preparedness and response capacity.
Significant steps were taken to build networks and working relationships with the NDC and Provincial Disaster Centres, and other disaster management partners such as the Rabaul Volcanology Observatory and the National Weather Service. As a result, OCHA was invited to conduct emergency needs assessments in conjunction with the NDC and United Nations partners. OCHA’s support to, and participation in, government statutory bodies such as the Manam Humanitarian Implementation Committee and the Manam Resettlement Authority continued to be requested.
OCHA initiated discussion among IASC members on the implementation of the humanitarian reform process and the use of agreed coordination mechanisms and tools in emergency response. The IASC Disaster Management Team (DMT) was launched in March, including representatives of the RC’s Office, United Nations agencies, NDC, donors, NGOs, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, diplomatic corps and the academic community. An IASC DMT Working Group was later established to complete priority activities identified by the DMT. Workplans for 2006 and 2007 were finalized, covering Disaster Risk Reduction, Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Recovery, Training, Advocacy, Public Information and Logistics.
An Emergency Tree and communication protocols were developed and tested during the Mt Tavurvur eruption in October. An Emergency Directory and a National Emergency Stock Pile Matrix were compiled and circulated to all disaster management stakeholders. An Emergency IT and Telecommunication Committee was established in conjunction with the United Nations Department of Safety and Security, UNICEF, UNDP and the RC’s Office.
OCHA was involved in drafting the National Contingency Plan for Preparedness and Response for Influenza Pandemic along with WHO and the Avian Flu Technical Task Force, of which OCHA is co-chair with the Department of Health. Since October 2006 OCHA has worked with WHO and the Department of Health to operationalize the Plan, establishing working groups to achieve this.
In collaboration with UNCT members, key advocacy messages were drafted and finalized with support from the OCHA RO-AP. Information products including maps were developed for the use of disaster management stakeholders – the NDC, United Nations agencies, the Red Cross and donors. Maps depicting humanitarian concerns and natural hazards were produced with technical assistance from RO-AP.