PNG was severely impacted by the 2015-16 El Niño drought and, at some very high altitude locations, a series of destructive frosts. The drought and frosts impacted many rural villagers between mid-2015 and late 2016, with some people still severely impacted in early 2017. Impacts included: widespread shortages of drinking water; shortages of subsistence food in many places; negative effect on villagers’ health; partial or complete closure of schools; and the Fly River not being suitable for shipping for some months. The impact on food supply was greatest in four sub-regions: very high altitude places in parts of Enga, Hela and Western Highlands; much of inland lowland Western Province; several locations on the edge of the central highlands; and some island and mainland locations in Milne Bay Province.
The five speakers were closely involved in the assessment of food shortages and coordination of food distribution. Presentations will cover: a national overview of the impacts; more detailed reports on impacts and food aid in parts of Enga, Hela, Western and Milne Bay provinces; and responses by the PNG national government, donors, churches, international non-government organisations and UN agencies.
The public forum is presented as part of the Development Policy Centre’s PNG Project, which receives funding from the Australian Aid Program through the Pacific Governance and Leadership Precinct.