Global Partners and World Hope International are responding to the impact of a 7.5-magnitude earthquake, dozens of aftershocks and landslides on February 26 and 27 that devastated Papua New Guinea (PNG). According to Reuters and Associated Press news reports, the death toll has risen to 67 and widespread destruction is preventing rescue teams from reaching some of the hardest-hit areas in the rugged and mountainous highland region. The epicenter was approximately 30km south from Fugwa, a main Wesleyan Mission Station with around 30 churches.
Don and Cheri Floyd, Global Partners missionaries to PNG, are liaising with the affected communities and various aid agencies. In the weeks and months ahead, Don Floyd, a builder, will advise rural churches on safely repairing or demolishing their buildings.
WHI has set up a fund to respond to immediate needs at https://www.worldhope.org/PNG-earthquake-response
Reports from Wesleyans serving in that region include:
Global Partners missionaries Cheri and Don Floyd:
Estimates are that 80 percent of PNG Wesleyan churches have been affected to some extent. Five Wesleyan districts are reporting significant damage to homes, churches, schools and medical centers. Two of those Wesleyan districts are within 30 miles of the epicenter.
Wesleyan Health Services is still operating, offering healing and hope in Jesus’ name. Nurses at the Fugwa Health Centre are sleeping on the verandah of the newly built wing dedicated in September of 2017. PNG Wesleyans believe God has spared their lives to help others. Global Partners Health Network is committed to the long-term strengthening of the existing Wesleyan medical work in PNG. Contributions to long-term needs can be made here.
As we make contact with PNG pastors in the earthquake zone, we ask a number of questions to help assess the situation. The final question is often, “What is your #1 prayer request?” Rev. Kayumba answered, “We can rebuild the physical things. God will help us do that. But I want people to help us pray for our children, our young adults. Many of them are not walking with the Lord and I realize afresh that their lives could end in an instant. Pray that our children will want to be Christians. That they will make things right with God.”
Chief Executive Officer of World Hope International Australia, Ruth Thomas:
Fugwa Health Centre damage: one inpatient general ward, out-patient and maternity ward, six staff houses and one duplex completely down on the ground, nine water tanks destroyed, two tanks displaced. All pipes dismantled, generator not functioning, as well as desktop computer and photo copy machine.
The immediate needs are water and shelter (tarps) and very soon food as indicated by this message from Don and Cheri Floyd: a cultural problem is going to affect food supplies. You know how everyone has to dig drains around their gardens to keep pigs out. Well, most of those collapsed at some point and the pigs are getting into all the gardens. Although there is enough food, there won’t be for long as this rate. Leaders say they don’t know what to do. Start killing pigs to save their food, but possibly spark a tribal fight? Or let the pigs do what they will until the gardens can all be fenced off again? So, it looks like food is going to become an issue soon.
Another problem with food is that the earthquake and the subsequent aftershocks have shaken the sweet potato (their food staple) up to the top of the soil and if they don’t bury it again it will go bad if the pigs don’t get to it first.
- All 17 homes in Alia village are destroyed but no lives lost. One life lost at a nearby village and damaged homes.
- At Takuru Mission station, district house was twisted and is facing a different direction with no power.
Communication is limited, however, the Floyds and Thomas are exchanging information and providing relief need updates. WHI is mobilizing to distribute water filters and solar chargers to the region.
To support earthquake relief efforts, click here.
To support the ongoing work of medical services, click here.