Eruption Of Manam Volcano In PNG Increases; Thousands Await Evacuation

Loud explosion followed by spewing lava on Sunday night

By Dorothy Mark

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 16, 2017) – 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.

[PIR editor's note: On May 16, 2017 The National reported that 'More than 3000 people are still on Manam Island in Madang awaiting transportation to the main land after the two recent volcanic eruptions. ... More than 2000 people are at Baliau village and 1000 living in the small villages. They need transport to come to the mainland quickly.']

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.

The National
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