It is with great concern that we are learning about the impact of the powerful earthquake that struck Papua New Guinea earlier this week, claiming at least 16 lives and affecting hundreds of thousands of people in several provinces.
On behalf of the Global Partnership for Education, I extend our heartfelt condolences to the people of Papua New Guinea who have lost beloved ones and our compassion to those who sustained injuries and lost homes, food and livelihoods.
The affected area north of the capital Port Moresby has been devastated and reports speak of extensive damage, including to schools and health facilities. Due to aftershocks and massive landslides, it will take time until the full extent of casualties and damages are known, including to schools, homes and water sources.
The earthquake is tragic for the education of tens of thousands of children as classes for all schools in the affected province have been cancelled indefinitely. National and provincial education departments along with UNICEF, which is the GPE coordinating agency in Papua New Guinea, and non-governmental organizations are working through the Education in Emergencies Humanitarian Cluster to deliver tents, school-in-a-box, blankets, and other emergency kits. The response is coordinated with the Protection Cluster and will include psychosocial counselling.
Our thoughts are with the people of Papua New Guinea and the Global Partnership for Education stands ready to support the Ministry of Education over the months to come.