It’s one thing to kick the tin when you’re loaded with cash and it’s quite another to do the same when you’re on struggle street. Papua New Guinea has shown clearly what a great friend of Australia it is by its generous response to recent natural disasters in Australia.
Last week the PNG Government gave $2 million for bushfire and flood relief and this has been followed by various amounts of money raised by groups and communities right across the country.
The small township of Vanimo near the Indonesian border has donated $5,500 to the Victorian bushfire appeal and staff of the National Research Institute on Friday donated K7,575 to the PNG Red Cross Australian Disaster Appeal Fund.
The Morobe provincial government has made a K100,000 donation. Secretary-General of the PNG Red Cross, Esmie Freda Sinapa, said donations to the Red Cross stood at K32,000 on Friday afternoon.
Jim Robinson, a divisional head at NRI, said it was touching to see average Papua New Guineans digging deep to donate. “It’s not the monetary value but the support that really counts,” he said. Australia's High Commissioner to PNG, Chris Moraitis, said he was moved by the donations.
Morobe Governor Luther Wenge said: “On behalf of the people of Morobe province, we sincerely express our sorrow, and also express that we are totally in heart with you in your suffering, we know very well that no human action will bring you to where you were in-full before the fire. We pray and offer our comfort and give the understanding and the blessings you need at this time.”
Footnote: The Exclusive Brethren Church, which is a client of my company Jackson Wells, yesterday donated $3 million to the Red Cross Appeal. The Church has just 13,000 members – men, women and children – in Australia.