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Australia Pledges Additional Aid To Papua New Guinea Following Devastating Landslide

Australia has promised an additional $1.3 million to aid Papua New Guinea’s reconstruction after a deadly landslide hit the region.

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles reassured displaced residents in Papua New Guinea (PNG) on Thursday that Australia will continue to provide assistance after the region was hit by a significant landslide last month.

Marles and Wong, accompanied by other senior government officials, are currently in PNG for a ministerial forum, the most significant bilateral gathering for Australia among the South Pacific island nations.

Addressing a group of displaced people, Wong expressed her condolences and optimism. “I look around here and I see sadness and I am so sorry for your loss. But I also see hope, I also see hope,” she said.

The Australian Government announced on Thursday an additional two million Australian dollars ($1.3 million) to aid reconstruction efforts in the affected region. This support comes as PNG struggles with the aftermath of the disaster in the remote Enga province, which the United Nations estimates killed 670 villagers and displaced 1,650 survivors. PNG’s government has informed the United Nations that it believes more than 2,000 people were buried in the landslide.

Thursday’s announcement builds on Australia’s initial assistance of $2.5 million, which was allocated for emergency supplies, support for humanitarian partners, and the deployment of technical experts, including a Disaster Assistance Response Team, in the immediate aftermath of the May 24 landslide.

This year has been particularly challenging for PNG. In addition to the landslide, the country has experienced deadly riots in its two largest cities, Port Moresby and Lae. Long-running tribal feuds have also resulted in significant violence, with at least 26 men killed in an ambush in February and a clash between rival clans killing eight last month.

Melissa Enoch

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