Bringing help in their hour of greatest need

Bringing help in their hour of greatest need

MAFs Nawi Mabo flew to bring help to earthquake stuck communities in Papua New Guinea and describes what he saw.

'Today, I had the chance to see first-hand the devastation caused by the recent earthquake when stopping at Huya and Bosavi to pick up people who were injured from the earthquake. Among them was the lady who was the sole survivor of a group of 11 people who were buried in a landslide while trying to get to Komo for marketing.

Firsthand account by Nawi Mabo, MAF’s Ground Operations Training Co-ordinator in PNG. Photos by Remo Ruegg, Steven Eatwell and Nawi Mabo.

Another woman whom we also picked up was injured from falling rocks caused by an aftershock a day after the major earthquake. She had wounds on her head and other parts of the body.

A little boy was also picked up. He had one eye injured as a result of being hit by debris falling from the hill side. There were a number of people who hurt themselves while running out of houses and huts in the dark during the major tremor.

The health worker at Bosavi said there were no medicines to treat people and expressed sadness of doing nothing much during this critical time. 

When talking to the people, they said no one has since left the villages and gone to their gardens out of fear of getting injured or killed should another tremor strike again. And there are tremors between 20 – 30 minutes intervals till now that adds to this fear.

Food gardens especially on ridges were reported destroyed. This was confirmed from the air. Rivers and creeks turned muddy and were blocked with fallen trees and rocks causing water to build up upstream then burst open and send a flood of fast travelling debris downstream wiping away food gardens.

'The health worker at Bosavi said there were no medicines to treat people and expressed sadness of doing nothing much during this critical time.' 

From the air, most cliffs around Huya had evidence of landslides. There surely is much more damage than we would guess. A more comprehensive assessment of the affected area is needed!

The appreciation to MAF for being there at this critical time of need was overwhelming, especially at Huya where we dropped 240 kilograms of food supplies courtesy of Sally Lloyd.

Some people shed tears, I joined them! I have worked 12 years with MAF but have not seen this level of gratitude by people who express thankfulness when help comes at their greatest hour of need.

As we prepared to leave the people, Steve Eatwell asked me to pray with the people. I did, encouraging them we (MAF), we will splash the stories and pictures of the devastation the earthquake caused and work to get help coming their way.

'Some people shed tears, I joined them! I have worked 12 years with MAF but have not seen this level of gratitude by people who express thankfulness when help comes at their greatest hour of need.'

We encouraged them that people everywhere were praying for them and other areas affected by the earthquake. The community leader on behalf of his people thanked MAF for being there all this time, more so at this time when the need for help is even greater.'