Rebuilding continues after 2018 earthquake

Kutubu Secondary School in the Southern Highlands Province is rebuilding its school so 700 students can return to classes after more than ten months of no schooling.

The school was one of several in Southern Highlands and Hela provinces that were severely affected by the 7.5 magnitude earthquake a year ago this month, which caused major destruction to houses, food gardens and infrastructure.

For Kutubu Secondary School, the process of rebuilding is well underway with the near completion of a new mess block with the timely support of Oil Search. The mess is essential to operate the boarding facility.

The Oil Search earthquake recovery team had earlier completed reconstruction work on the 4.5 kilometre feeder road to the school, and also for the Inu community, located next to the school.

The access road was badly affected by slips that required stabilising and drainage that was blocked. The principal, Bai Irabo, had engaged local youths from the area to do maintenance work but that was not going to be enough.

The reconstruction of the road by Oil Search was completed in December, and is aiding the reconstruction work on the school itself.

On a recent visit to Kutubu, Leon Buskens, Oil Search General Manager for PNG Stakeholder Engagement, was pleased to see that Kutubu Secondary School under the leadership of Irabo, had begun efforts to reconstruct its mess.

The school had sourced timber and other building material from local saw mill operators and suppliers and had engaged the help of local carpenters.

Oil Search donated 30 bags of cement and two truckloads of builders mix.

An elated Irabo thanked Oil Search for the donation adding it would help lift the morale of the entire school.

“Oil Search’s commitment in rebuilding our communities through the Oil Search Foundation and our partners continues a year after the earthquake. The level of self-reliance demonstrated by Kutubu Secondary School is exemplary,” said Buskens.

Press release