Papua New Guinea - Volcanic Eruption OCHA Situation Report No. 1
OCHA Situation Report No. 1
Papua New Guinea - Volcanic eruption
16 August 2002
Situation and Damage
1. Following small earthquakes and tremors which began early July 2002, the Mount Pago Volcano, in Papua New Guinea's West New Britain Province, is as of 5 August spewing out thick dark gray ash and sulfurous fumes. According to the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO), five vents on the northwest flank of the Pago cone are active, belching out short lava flows in the crater. Even though the eruptions are of a small magnitude, RVO reports the situation could deteriorate rapidly. The Witori volcano, next to the Pago volcano, is feared to become active. More than 10,000 people have been evacuated from surrounding villages to the provincial capital Kimbe, situated 50 kilometers north of the volcano. Nine care centres have been built. The airport in Kimbe and in the city of Hoskins nearby have both been closed due to falling ash. It is also difficult to reach the island by boat. If the eruption continues, many local fields and cash crops already hit in the area could be severely damaged due to the ash.
National and International Response
2. On 16 August, the Minister for Provincial and Local Government Affairs convened a meeting for all donors and other stakeholders. The Director General of the Natural Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has visited the affected area and has pledged PGK 1 million (approximately USD 284,000) to counter the situation.
3. The RVO has already installed temporary monitoring instruments on the Mont Pago and is currently monitoring the situation very closely.
4.The Provincial Disaster Office has allocated PGK 200,000 (approximately USD 56,800) for the initial evacuation exercise, providing mostly food items. The Office has also deployed officers to the disaster areas to coordinate the assessment and the continuous voluntary evacuations. Provincial companies have provided the affected areas with trucks, fuel, food, tents and cash. However, the West New Britain Provincial Administration has made a further request to the National Government through the National Disaster Management Office asking for water tanks, electricity generators, food items, telecommunications items and for hiring of helicopters.
5.The PNG Red Cross Society (PNGRCS) is keeping in close contact with the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) to monitor eruption activities of Mt. Pago. The PNGRCS holds stocks of emergency relief items in East New Britain which can be quickly deployed to Kimbe.
6. The Salvation Army has offered immediate emergency assistance this week to volcano victims providing food and shelter in the Salvation Army churches. Caritas is also participating in the emergency operations.
7. A representative of the United Nations Development Program in Papua New Guinea attended the meeting convened by the Minister for Provincial and Local Government Affairs.
8. So far OCHA has not received a request for international assistance.
9.OCHA is prepared to mobilise assistance for assessment and coordination as well as to serve as channel for cash contributions to be used for immediate relief assistance, in coordination/consultation with relevant organizations in the United Nations system. For banking details please contact the Desk Officers indicated below. OCHA provides donors with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the utilization of the funds contributed.
10. For coordination purposes, donors are requested to inform OCHA Geneva, as indicated below, on relief missions/pledges/contributions and their corresponding values by item.
11. OCHA is in close contact with the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea through its Regional Disaster Response Advisor in Fiji, and will revert with further information, as it becomes available.
Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10
Mr. R. Mueller /Mr.K.Quiding /Mr. Morgan Mozas
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 31 31 /17 69/22 93
(in GVA) - Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(in N.Y.) - Mr. Brian Grogan, direct Tel. +1-212-963 11 43
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.