Mt. Pago erupts again in Papua New Guinea

News and Press Release
Originally published
From Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai'i

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (September 10, 2002 -- The National)---Mt. Pago erupted violently again over the weekend spewing out heavy dark smoke but activity subsided later, the West New Britain provincial disaster office reported yesterday.

People within 15 to 20 kilometers (9 to 12 miles) from the volcano have been advised to move to safer areas or designated care centers.

Only five schools in Hoskins have been allowed to reopen but with strict conditions, which include functional evacuation plans, communications systems and transport.

Meanwhile, work on the reopening and upgrading of the old Talasea airstrip is progressing well, provincial administrator and disaster coordinator William Padio said yesterday.

NCP, a local construction company, has been working on the Talasea airstrip and the work is likely to be completed in time for an opening on September 21.

The upgraded airstrip will be able to accommodate Dash 8 aircraft, Mr. Padio said.

As a temporary measure, the Bialla airstrip is being used for light aircraft while work continues at Talasea.

According to Mr. Padio's office, the response from the National Government, non-government agencies and external donor agencies has so far been "overwhelming and generous." The following donations in the form of cash, emergency supplies and expertise were received and acknowledged:

  • The PNG Government gave K 1 million (US$ 257,300).
  • AusAID provided three disaster management specialists as well as a commitment of A$ 1.1 million (US$ 603,306) in humanitarian aid.
  • The Japanese government sent a team of three volcanologists and equipment to assist on monitoring.
  • Red Cross sent a team of 16 volunteers to assist medical teams.
  • UNICEF is assisting in the reproduction of volcano information and disaster awareness materials.
  • The New Zealand government donated K 160,000 (US$ 41,168).
  • The Chinese government donated K 250,000 (US$ 64,325).
  • The West New Britain provincial government sanctioned K 400,000 (US$ 102,920) for emergency relief supplies.