The National Weather Service have advised that the current drought conditions in much of the country are expected to continue until the end of September or early October. Provinces at severe drought risk include Bougainville, Central, East New Britain, East Sepik, Enga, Jiwaka, Madang, Morobe, National Capital District, Western Highlands, West New Britain, and West Sepik. As the country approaches the wet season at the end of the year, much of the country is expected to receive above-average rainfall influenced by a La Niña event. However, the New Guinea Islands region tends to be drier during La Niña events and so chances of drought continuing in New Britain, New Ireland, Manus, and Bougainville is relatively high.
As of 5 September, the water level at three of the country’s six dams are at critically low levels. Hydroelectric power accounts for 40% of the country’s current power supply. The national power company is carrying out heavy load shedding on all three grids -- which service about 1 million people -- due to the low water levels and has urged customers to restrict the consumption of water and electricity.
According to the provincial disaster offices in Eastern Highlands and East New Britain, the drought is also affecting agricultural yields for greens. Further protraction of the drought will likely lead to greater reliance on cassava as a food source. Water sources in the Rabaul district of East New Britain are being rehabilitated to supply water to affected areas. World Vision and IOM have been in contact with the East New Britain provincial disaster centre to provide water containers for affected residents.