Refugee Emergency in Papua New Guinea

By Mercy Works, 13 September 2020
A new West Papuan arrival speaking with Mercy Works Kiunga Coordinator Steven Dude (right). Image: Mercy Works/Supplied.


Surrounded by escalating violence and civil unrest, many West Papuans fearing for their lives in November last year were forced to flee Indonesia and cross the Fly River into Papua New Guinea.

A makeshift refugee camp was built on Monfort Catholic Mission ground when these refugees began arriving. Some were resettled into the village of Iowara before the State of Emergency was declared in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

There still remains, however, 140 people living in poor conditions with basic shelter and little access to clean water or sanitation. Steven Dude, Mercy Works Coordinator in Kiunga, aware of their plight, visited the camp in early June to talk with the community and listen to their needs.

Steven found the situation in the camp to be dire. Families described how they fled with nothing but the clothes on their backs and were in desperate need of basic assistance. The risk of infection and disease is high and there is barely enough food to survive.

Mercy Works has responded with emergency funding for food and clothing. In addition, working tools have been provided to grow vegetables to feed themselves and as a means of growing produce to sell.

Published with collaboration from Mercy Works.


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