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  • Writer's pictureNicola Smart

Papua New Guinea Earthquake Assessments

Updated: Apr 5

In the dead of night on 25 February 2018, a 7.5 intensity earthquake struck Papua New

Guinea’s Hela and Southern Highlands Provinces, wrecking roads, houses, hospitals, schools and churches …… and inflicting a reported 160 fatalities. This occurred amidst an environment of inter-tribal armed violence, the burning of mining facilities associated with the nearby liquefied natural gas project and roadside banditry by local “rascals”.

In the midst of this chaos, the Catholic Diocese of Mendi operates schools and clinics, in addition to their religious and pastoral support of large congregations. A report by Caritas included the following, “Many buildings have collapsed, while others have been dislodged from their original position by about 20-30cm….. thorough inspection by an experienced structural engineer to determine the structural integrity hence the safety is of paramount importance.”

In this context, the Diocese accepted an offer by Partner Housing to carry out probono inspections, assessments and (where necessary) design remedial works. A volunteer Partner Housing structural engineer inspected and assessed 58 buildings in Mendi, Nipa, Tari, Komo, Idaui, Koroba and Pureni; and prepared a detailed report on the required remedial work. The detailed design will be carried out on a probono basis by Sydney-based structural engineering firms coordinated by Partner Housing.

Partner Housing continues its stated role as ''an entirely voluntary organisation, which aims to transform the lives of people living in Asia-Pacific villages by improving the cyclone, earthquake and tsunami resistance of their houses, clinics, schools and community buildings”.

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