Volcano erupts again in PNG

THE Manam volcano erupted again on Sunday evening, spewing lava and spitting fire into the air – a much bigger eruption than the one last week which forced the evacuation of 887 people.

There are some people left on the island who are awaiting transporation to the mainland in Madang.

Provincial disaster and emergency acting director Rudolf Mongallee said the blast was heard as far away as Bogia on the mainland. He is awaiting advice from the Rabaul Volcanic Observatory (RVO).

The RVO in a bulletin said the southern crater had been quiet last Thursday and Friday. But it started to release occasional emissions of ash last weekend.

Then on Sunday at around 6pm and 7pm, the volcano erupted. The blast was heard as far away as the coast of Bogia.

Dugulava ward councillor Paul Maburau said evacuated people from the village now living at the centre in Mandi, Bogia, heard the huge explosion on Sunday night.

He said some ran to the beach to watch the flame and ashes spewing into the air. They watched lava rolling down the southern side of the volcano.

He said 30 men had been left behind at Dugulava village to keep watch over the homes and gardens after everyone had left.

“The men jumped on two dinghies and rode out to the sea to monitor the volcanic activities,” Maburau said.

Sailas Basse from Waia village said some villagers still on the island were scared and went to the Potsdam care centre.

But they returned to Manam Island on Sunday morning due to the lack of food.

“I am now looking for fuel to evacuate my relatives on the island,” Basse said.

The food rations delivered at Mandi care centre were for Dugulava villagers only. Maburau said there were no reports of casualties but people remaining on the island had been advised to stay in safe places.

Meanwhile, more than 3000 people are still on Manam Island in Madang awaiting transportation to the main land after the two recent volcanic eruptions.

Dugulava Ward Councillor Paul Maburau said the volcano erupted again on Sunday around 6pm and continued to Monday morning.

The first eruption was last week. More than 2000 people are at Baliau village and 1000 living in the small villages. They need transport to come to the mainland quickly.

“They are prepared to move out but they have no means to travel,” Maburau told The National.

“The islanders are waiting for the disaster office to transport them out.”

According to a report from Volcanological Observatory, the behaviour of the summit activity seen in the past few weeks is expected to continue.

It advised the people on the island to remain vigilant and to take precautions when necessary.

It also advised the remaining islanders to avoid venturing into the four valleys where they do their gardening.

Last week, 887 people were evacuated from the island and were now living at the Potsdam care centre.

Maburau said food supplied by the provincial disaster office should last for about a week.

He said the Red Cross, World Vision and a woman only identified as Maureen has provided tents, mosquito nets and other basic necessities for temporary homes.