Australia is providing an additional $170,000 to assist villagers affected by the volcanic eruptions at Manam Island and Langila in Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Bruce Billson, announced today.
'This new funding will be channelled via the Australian and PNG Red Cross to provide relief supplies for villagers affected by the Langila eruption and improve housing for Manam Islanders,' Mr Billson said.
'Australia's contribution will also assist the Madang Provincial Disaster Management Office to coordinate the relief operation and help the PNG Red Cross prepare for future disasters by re-stocking emergency relief supply containers.
'The Manam Island volcano, in Madang Province, began erupting in October last year and led to the evacuation of the island's population of 10,000 to the mainland,' Mr Billson said.
'Volcanic activity at Mount Langila in West New Britain Province, while less destructive than the Manam eruption, increased in intensity in April this year, contaminating local water supplies and damaging food gardens and homes.
'Our assistance to date has enabled CARE Australia, World Vision Australia and the Australian Red Cross to provide safe drinking water, toilets, food, and relief items such as water containers and tarpaulins,' Mr Billson said.
'Australian aid, through AusAID, is also providing on-going support to the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory in PNG to monitor volcanic activity at the country's high risk volcanoes.
'This Observatory is a crucial early warning system for the many people who live near one of PNG's 16 active volcanoes and is responsible for advising PNG government authorities and local communities on risks from increased volcanic activity,' Mr Billson said.
'Australia stands ready to provide further assistance and our officials will continue to work with PNG government and non-government organisations on the ground to monitor the situation at both Manam and Langila volcanoes.
'This brings the total of Australia's volcano relief to more than $1.3 million and is part of Australia's extensive development assistance package to PNG,' Mr Billson said.
Media inquiries: Shane Fairlie
(Mr Billson's office) 0408 680 442
AusAID (Public Affairs) 0417 680 590