The pictures below were taken during an assessment mission in Papua New Guinea in October 2014. The main causes of internal displacement in Papua New Guinea are natural disasters and ethnic conflicts. Development projects such as mining also force people from their homes, often without proper compensation. There are no accurate figures on the number of people displaced every year or on those who remain displaced for longer periods as the government or the international community does not systematically collect data on the number or needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
At the end of 2014, it was estimated that at least 22,000 people were displaced throughout the country. The majority were displaced by natural disasters, the remainder by ethnic conflict. They are concentrated in Madang and Morobe provinces which I visited in December 2014.
In Bulolo, Morobe provincesome 10,000 people, mainly Sepik settlers, were reported displaced from their homes in May 2010 as a result of a violent clash with locals. The displaced settled in a camp close to the police station where some 4,000 are were still living at the end of 2014.
A profiling exercise conducted by IOM in 2017 recorded a total of 45’000 IDPs in 37 locations across 10 provinces.
Bulolo, Morobe province
The residents of the camp lack of access to basic necessities such as food, clean water and adequate sanitary facilities. Immediately following their displacement they were provided by the governemnt with food, water and shelter materials. Soon after assistance dried up and the displaced were pretty much left on their own. The main obstacle to their return is the lack of a peace agreement with the community who displaced them. The land on which the displaced live is owned by the government and there are no guarantees that they will be able to stay.
The Wakaya informal settlement hosts ethnic Bubu displaced in September 2013. Most have received no assistance at all from the government. The land on which the displaced are staying is owned by the locals and many fear that they will be evicted one day.