Papua New Guinea: Volcanic eruption OCHA Situation Report No. 1
OCHA Situation Report No. 1
Papua New Guinea - Volcanic eruption
This situation report is based on information received from OCHA field office in Papua New Guinea.
1. A large scale eruption occurred at Rabaul Volcano at 08:45 (local time) on 7 October in New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea. Continuous air blasts rattled windows in Rabaul city and heavy ash fall and small stones were falling in the city. On 9 October, according to the Rabaul Volcanology Observatory, the volcanic activity is declining and loud roaring sounds have stopped. Thin to moderate pinky-white hazy emissions are being produced, rising gently to 1,000 meters blowing north. The volcanic activity is likely continue along with ash falls. The state of emergency remained in effect although there are indications that it will be lifted in the next day or two.
2. In the event of heavy rains, small to moderate sized mud flows are likely to follow existing water courses. Residents to the south and south-west should exercise extra caution. Air Niugini confirmed that flights into Rabaul were suspended until further notice and the airport remains closed due to continuing deposits of ash on the runway.
3. The National Disaster Center (NDC) announced that 1,221 people from Matupit and Rabaul city were evacuated by sea to Vunapope Mission Station. It appears that the worst affected communities include Matupit, Bai, Nordup, Matalau, Rakunat, Korere and Rabuana. Areas less affected are Malapau, Kuradui, Raluana, Barovon, Ialakua, Rapolo and Malaguna. Some evacuees have been moved to designated resettlement blocks at Sikut, Gelegele, Cliffton, and Warena which were established by the East New Britain Provincial Disaster Committee (PDC) after the 1994 eruption. Red Cross reported that three main informal care centers have been established at Sikut, Tavuiliu and Vunapope Catholic Mission, with the latter providing health, food and water services.
4. The NDC will be deploying a Rapid Assessment Team to East New Britain Province to assist the Provincial Disaster Office in coordinating emergency operations. The government has not requested any international assistance. The PDC has had several meetings and is in the process of requesting emergency financial assistance from the national government.
5. The main concern is water, as it is not known if it is potable, as well as the delivery (trucking, establishment of water collection points, water bladders) should it be necessary. Immediate needs also include tarpaulins, water containers, facemasks and food.
6. With a well-equipped local branch of 20 volunteers in Rabaul, Red Cross has already distributed some water and containers as an interim measure. The organization also plans to distribute water containers (400 units), tarpaulins (100 units) and respiratory masks (500 units) as soon as possible. The PNG Defence Force has agreed to airlift these emergency supplies if conditions permit. In the event the airport will remain closed, preparations are underway for the local procurement of these and other supplies.
7. OCHA is in close contact with the government and the UN Resident Coordinator Office in Port Moresby. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int.
Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10
(GVA) Mr. Masaaki Nakagawa, direct Tel.
(N.Y.) Ms. Ah-Young Kim, direct Tel. +1-212-963-5131
(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel.
+41-22-917 26 53
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-917-892 1679
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.