Papua New Guinea: Volcanic Activity- Information bulletin

This bulletin is being issued for information only and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society (PNGRC), with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is assessing the evolving situation for a potential DREF request to assist the residents of Kadovar Island following a volcanic eruption.

The Situation

The remote Kadovar Island volcano became active on 5 January 2018 with mild volcanic activity on the south-eastern side of the island. The Governor’s office conducted an aerial assessment and observed lava flow on the island with an estimated 50-60 per cent of the island covered in lava. The entire population (591 people) has been relocated to Blup Blup island, which is an island of about 800 people.

As of 6 January, prevailing wind conditions have carried ash clouds west of Kadovar island. Kadovar (Kadowar) is a small island belonging to the cluster of islands referred to as Schouten Islands. Kadovar is approximately 100km from Wewak (line of sight) and 24km to nearest point on mainland East Sepik province. Kadovar is part of Wewak Island Rural LLG in Wewak District,
East Sepik Province.

Since 6 January, the Wewak district administration has been working with the East Sepik provincial administration and the MP for Wewak to organize an evacuation. The MP for Wewak indicated that there were no district funds available currently as government accounts had yet to open for 2018. The National Disaster Centre (NDC) is currently coordinating closely with East Sepik provincial administration on establishing the current situation. On 7 January, a provincial assessment team was deployed. The NDC and East Sepik provincial administration are presently awaiting findings from the deployed assessment team.Due to the remoteness of the area, more information to get a clearer picture of the needs has yet to be received.

Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO) has assessed that there is a possibility for Kadovar to explode which could trigger similar explosions on Blup Blup and Biem islands (both volcanic islands as well). This may also trigger a tsunami due to landslides.