Manam Volcanic eruption. Photo taken from Baliau Village 24 January,2019

Another phase of eruption from Manam’s Main Crater began after 12 noon and 1:00 pm Wednesday 23 January, 2019, and is continuing.

Normally, the eruption lasts on average two (2) hours.  For the first time, it is continuing for over 24 hours, raising panic amongst the people.

The Volcanological Observatory issued a Stage 2 risk level on Wednesday, 23/01/19 and warned that the volcano is dynamic and volatile, showing an increase in seismic activity.  The eruption is expected to continue.

There were two earlier eruptions from the same Crater earlier in the month on 8th and 11th January.  Since August 2018, the frequency of the eruptions have increased.

The Manam Resettlement Authority Secretariat received a call from the Ward Member of Baliau Michael Rupunae and Chairman of Manam Disaster Working Committee James Sukua today 2:00 pm regarding their situation.

Immediate need now is relocation of those on the island, water, food and telecommunication.  They say the temperatures are also very high.

The urgent need now is relocation of the people of Baliau and Dugulaba Villages to the mainland.  The Government sent these people back to the island some years back, despite the fact that Manam is a volcano and is uninhabitable, and they have nowhere else to go.

The three (3) Care Centres are already full and can’t absorb these people.  People from existing Care Centres who escaped to the island from harsh Care Centres life should also return.

The people of Manam have lost trust and confidence in the Provincial Government.  They do not want any more funds to be channelled through the Provincial Government.

The leaders also queried the Prime Minister’s commitment of K3 Million when he visited the volcano in September 2018.  Has the money been release?  If so, to which organization has it been released?  They want the full acquittal to the people of how the funds were used.

The Board Chairman of Manam Resettlement Authority (MRA) Ken Fairweather has commenced work on establishing the institution and the long-term resettlement program.  Nubia Plantation shall be the resettlement hub while land identified inland at Andarum and Raptuk will also be acquired.  The MRA immediately needs release of funds through the National Disaster Office for this.

The current disaster relief should be given priority by the Madang Provincial Government and the National Government through the National Disaster Centre.

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