Historical InformationOn February 26, 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Highlands of PNG and over half a million people were affected by (followed by strong aftershocks and a 6.7 magnitude earthquake on 8 March), causing casualties, damaging homes and key infrastructure (including airfields, bridges, community access roads, houses, power supply, telecommunications), triggering landslides, and affecting water sources. Enga, Gulf, Hela and Southern and Western Highlands’ provinces suffered the damage, with Hela and Southern Highlands being the most affected.
Apart from the immediate humanitarian assistance, there was a need to provide early recovery and reconstruction support to help the affected people to restore their livelihoods, while building their resilience. This included short-term emergency employment support and longer-term assistance in restoring the damaged infrastructure.
With the support provided by the Government of Japan and the ILO’s resources, ILO participated in the coordination efforts that were led by the Government’s National Disaster Centre (NDC), and was requested by its constituents to provide technical assistance in designing and implementing employment-intensive infrastructure-based livelihood recovery activities. The project supported the development of a longer-term employment-intensive reconstruction strategy, which also included disaster mitigation.
The project implemented the construction of gravity-fed water supply system for a clean and safe drinking water access in the disaster affected communities. As a direct result of the project, both women and men in the project site and neighbouring communities are now able to derive health and economic benefits from improved access to clean and safe drinking water. Over 1,000 workers and almost 6,000 households in earthquake-affected communities will benefit from the economic activity entailed by this project. The project was designed to integrate environmental standards and conservation measures promoting green jobs and providing immediate income. The project has not only addressed the chronic water issues but promoted social cohesion and peaceful co-existence.
This ILO’s project was the only impactful infrastructure project in the aftermath of the earthquake that bridged humanitarian response with development objectives.