22 December 2008 A five-member United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team has arrived in Papua New Guinea to help identify the aid needs of some 32,000 victims of severe sea swells that hit a wide extent of the northern shoreline and neighbouring islands.
Caused by a low depression in the Pacific Ocean off Guam and New Caledonia, the swell severely affected five provinces – East Sepik, Madang, Manus, Morobe and New Ireland, as well as the autonomous region of Bougainville.
An inter-agency assessment group including the UNDAC team has been deployed in East Sepik, the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) said.
The team, set to remain in the islands for 7 to 10 days, is supporting the National Disaster Centre in Information Management by compiling available data on damage, impact, and needs.
The swells destroyed houses, food and water supplies, damaged crops and led to the loss of gardening tools. Main needs initially identified by the Government include water containers, tarpaulins, water purification tablets, food rations and insecticide-treated anti-malarial bed nets.
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