Western Highlands and Chimbu, like other Highlands provinces, are prone to many different disasters including floods, landslides, droughts and frost.
Communities and nfrastructure in these provinces are regularly impacted by floods, especially areas along the rivers and the flood plains.
In 2015/16, both provinces were affected by El Nino-induced drought and frost.
Western Highlands and Chimbu are two of the five provinces and regions featured in a risk assessment report produced by a team of experts from the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES) and supported by technical specialists from relevant institutions of Papua New Guinea.
Michael Sembenombo, project manager for United Nation Development Programme’s (UNDP) disaster risk management project said: “While the likelihood of floods is very high for Western Highlands, Chimbu is prone to more landslides, based on estimates and disaster modelling developed for these two provinces.
“Both provinces experience drought in the low altitude areas and frost in the high altitude areas, as was the case in 1997 to 1998 and 2015 to 2016. This requires urgent attention and the need to implement risk reduction activities.”
The preliminary results of the assessment report indicate that:
- Western Highlands is vulnerable to floods, as many of the communities are located along the flood plains and valleys, while Chimbu is vulnerable to landslides as a result of the land structure in combination with the rainfall and the human activities; and,
- Chimbu is also highly vulnerable to the floods, especially the communities situated along major rivers in the province.
To prioritise the disaster risks that have been identified for the province, UNDP held a two-day disaster risk reduction planning workshop in Kundiawa from Sept 25-26 and in Mt Hagen from Sept 28-29 this year.