Counsellors at ChildFund’s free national helpline have been assisting people affected by a series of devastating earthquakes in the remote southern highlands of Papua New Guinea.
The ChildFund 1-Tok Kaunselin Lain has been providing crisis counselling to people in Southern Highlands and Enga Provinces, where an estimated 100 people have lost their lives and many more are injured or missing.
A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the region last week, followed by a 6.7 magnitude aftershock on Wednesday.
Landslides, blocked roads and cracked airstrips have made it difficult to reach the area to assess the damage and provide support to affected communities. Many families outside of urban centres have been unable to access essential services.
The ChildFund 1-Tok Kaunselin Lain is the first national toll-free hotline service in PNG. As part of the service a team of trained counsellors provide crisis and trauma counselling and information, and referrals to nearby service providers where possible.
The hotline is one of the only accessible services for many people affected by the quakes, and will be promoted through radio stations and text messages in affected areas.
ChildFund is a member of the Protection Cluster which plays an advisory role to the country’s Disaster Management Team and, along with other members, has nominated a hotline counselling team member to be on call to join assessment groups in the affected communities.
To find out more about the free national helpline, click here.