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PNG Earthquakes, Part 2

March 8, 2018

Part two from Beverly Mosley on PNG earthquakes. . . Even though it has been well over a week since the initial large earthquake, numerous aftershocks continue. Some of these aftershocks would be considered a good sized earthquake on their own. Most, if not all, of the language group has temporarily relocated to Walagu village. It is our largest village, and it is close to the airstrip. The first relief supplies did arrive this week. Because of the shaking and landslides, a number of houses have collapsed. In our area, people were able to crawl out of these fallen houses. The Onobasulu plant their gardens on the slopes of the mountain ridges, therefore, many have lost their gardens. They also process the sago palm for a starchy flour to eat. There are reports that many sago palms have fallen over in the quakes. Among the Onobasulu people, there are no reported deaths, however, there are deaths in surrounding areas.

Anna Stoppels was in the house that our team uses to live and work in there at Walagu village. Our house did sustain some damage. Here is the house 12 years ago when it was brand new! We were excited to have the metal roof to catch rain water. Our posts were all set on small cement pads as one layer of protection against future termite damage

The external large water tank was on a cement pad, and probably a little over half full. The pressure of the shaking and sloshing of over 1,000 gallons of water popped the riveted lid off; collapsed the tank to the side (fortunately away from the house); and cracked to bottom of the tank, as well as the cement pad. Here are photos showing the damage to the tank. Anna and our neighbors were able to collect some water from the tank in buckets.

We do have a small header tank for gravity feed water flow in the house. Usually we top off the header tank late in the day for the next day’s water usage. Amazingly, Anna forgot to top off the header tank on the night before the quake. Therefore, there was only a small amount of sloshing in that tank. Had it been full, it could have fallen causing damage in the house, maybe even to Anna herself. We praise God for his protection!
The hardwood posts were each set on cement pads. They were bolted to ‘L’ shaped brackets in the cement. For 12 years, with only the rare, small earthquake far removed from Walagu, this system worked fine. But the cement pads did fail during a close, direct hard shake. Photos show how the cement cracked and even just exploded during the quake. We need to replace the posts. This can be done one-by-one. We will rethink how to do the posts. They will probably be buried deep in ground, rather than on cement pads.

We will also be replacing the external water tank, probably with a molded plastic tank rather than the metal ring tank. I do not yet know any details about costs. I’ll let you know more later.

This earthquake shook up my plans for my time in PNG in other ways. I planned to have 2 of the 4 Onobasulu co-translators come to Ukarumpa to work with me. Each day, as I learned more about the damage to the region and the Onobasulu people, I was concerned if I should really have these two men leave their families during this time. During separate conversations with Johann Alberts and Anna Stoppels, both mentioned the same concerns. So after much prayer and also talking via radio with the two men, we jointly decided that they needed to be with their families and community. But do not worry, I still have plenty of work to do!

We give praise and honor to the Lord for His protection during this very difficult time. Please do continue to pray for the Onobasulu people and others here in Papua New Guinea who are experiencing such a devastating time. Pray for the safety of workers who are trying to provide help and aid.

One last note: as I type this, Johann Alberts is scheduled to go into his repair surgery on collarbone and shoulder. Thanks for praying for all of these needs!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rev. Marvin Don Majors permalink
    August 25, 2018 10:15 am

    Sis. Beverly, are you still going to be with Wycliff or is your ministry now just with N.T.D.? Thanks, Rev. Majors

    • September 12, 2018 10:19 pm

      Hi Rev Majors,
      Thanks for asking this. Sorry, it took me a while to answer. I am still working with Wycliffe Bible translators, just as always. However, the national level of Assemblies of God World Missions is discontinuing processing the Assembly of God offerings for those of us in WBT. In order to help us, the North Texas District office is now willing to process these offerings for us, and can give district level missions credit for NTDC churches. I hope that this helps. If you have further questions, please call me at 817-751-0787. Thanks and blessings,

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