Papua New Guinea - Volcanic Eruption OCHA Situation Report No. 2
OCHA Situation Report No. 2
Papua New Guinea - Volcanic eruption
30 August 2002
This report is based on information from the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea.
1. After its eruption on 5 August 2002, Mt Pago Volcano in Papua New Guinea's West New Britain Province remains very active, spewing fine ash with silicone of a high health risk factor and fluorine/sulphur dioxide fumes which will cause acid rain. The combination of these factors will eventually destroy all crops, kill livestock, and continue to have adverse effects on human health. Therefore, human and environmental consequences of the eruption are becoming increasingly serious.
2. Ash falls are affecting the north-northwest part of Mt Pago reaching areas of more than 10 km from the Hoskins Peninsula. Changing wind patterns have shifted previously declared low risk areas to high risk zones. Lava is continuing to flow from the vent system that extends northwest from Mt. Pago. Ground deformation is likely to continue in the western part of Witori Caldera.
3. The Provincial Government has evacuated more than 12,000 people from villages surrounding the Mt Pago Volcano. About 8,000 people are being sheltered in seven evacuation centers around the Kimbe area. More than a third of the affected people remain at risk in their villages. Kimbe, a town of about 20,000 populations and the evacuated people, is located 35 km from Mt. Pago. Although it has not yet been affected, the entire town may need to be evacuated in the event of a large scale of eruption, which remains possible.
4. The evacuation centers suffer from overcrowding and a lack of water and sanitation facilities. Skin problems are prevalent in the centers as is malaria. Though still at a low level, gastroenteritis is feared to become epidemic. As the volcano continues to erupt, the number of people seeking shelter is likely to increase.
5. On 17 August, the Minister for Inter-Governmental Affairs set up a Task Force to coordinate assistance to the West New Britain Provincial Government to respond to the volcanic eruption. The Task Force, known as the "PAGO Task Force", is chaired by the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and includes representatives from the Government, Non Governmental Organisations and donors, including AUSAID.
6. The PNG Government has released PGK 1 million (USD 286,000) to the Province, but much more is required.
7. The Government has formally requested international emergency relief assistance. The request includes: 1,500 tents, 8,000 blankets, 8,000 mosquito nets (single), 150 water tanks (2000litters), 2,500 water containers (20 liter capacity), 200 water sealed manually flushed toilets (squat type), 8,000 bath soap bars, 90 tons of rice, 90,000 tins of corned beef, 90,000 tins fish. Although not likely to appear in the initial request, there will be further requirements for technical assistance with disaster coordination, nutrition and in managing the camps.
8. The Government of Japan has provided emergency assistance in kind (1,400 water tanks, 1,400 towels, 20 tents, 12 electricity generators and 12 reels of electric cord) equivalent to about 9 million yen (USD 75,000). It has also dispatched a Japan Disaster Relief Team comprised of five members including of volcanologists to monitor the eruption and give advice to the local government.
9. The Government of New Zealand has provided NZD100,000 (USD 47,000) for emergency assistance.
10. The Australian Government will provide up AUD 1 million (USD 546,000) to assist the affected communities.
11. A US rapid response team is due to arrive in two weeks time with necessary equipment and expertise to determine the nature of the eruption, which will be useful to see if areas such as Kimbe would be at risk.
12. OCHA is arranging the dispatch of an officer from the region to assist in the coordination process for the response activities and is in close contact with the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea.
13. UNICEF carried out an assessment on disaster situation and the needs of supplies in the area of health, water, education and child protection and health.
Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10
Ms. S. de Souza/Mr. S.Nakajima/Mr. M. Mozas
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 1636/4034/2293
(GVA) - Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(N.Y.) - Mr. Brian Grogan, direct Tel. +1-212-963 11 43
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.