Manam evacuees receive aid

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RED Cross and World Vision are providing assistance to hundreds of people fleeing volcanic eruptions on the island of Manam.
By last count, 887 people have left the island as lava continues to flow from the volcano after it erupted last month.
“Available information indicated light ash fell in areas stretching between Warisi on the east, Dugulaba on the south and Boda and Baliab on the northwest parts of the island,” the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management said.
“No information on the volume and impact of the ashfall is available due to communication difficulties.”
An official of the European Union, who was at Bogia on another business, saw the evacuees arrive from Manam.
The official was Ioannis Giokarakis-Argyropoulos, the ambassador and European Union head of delegation to Papua New Guinea who watched as people from the Manam villages of Dugulava, Warisi, Bokure and Kuluguma arrive at Mandi Beach in Bogia, Madang.
The volcano started belching smoke and flames around 7pm on April 16.
It was categorised as stage two alert by the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory, which advised authorities to prepare for evacuation. It upgraded to stage three last week, requiring more immediate action.
The islanders used whatever resources available to them to leave the island.
Madang disaster coordinator Rudolph Mongallee said everyone would be transported to the mainland.
“The islanders will be relocated at the Potsdam Care Centre at mainland Bogia,” Mongallee told The National on Friday.
Ten families consisting of around 150 people had already been transported to the mainland.
He said the Madang government and the National Disaster Centre were providing food to the islanders.
“The Red Cross and World Vision are assisting us with canvas (tents), mosquito nets, blankets and cooking utensils,” Mongallee said.
He said they had asked the people at the Potsdam Care Centre to allow the islanders to stay there.
“They (Manam islanders and Potsdam people) are family in some ways too so the Potsdam people accepted them.”
Mongallee said it was only a temporary resettlement.
Manam Restoration Authority caretaker Paul Akuram said volcanic lava was still flowing.
“Dust has covered the whole island and destroyed gardens and properties so they need to be moved out,” Akuram said.
In 2005, about  9000 people were evacuated, eventually to three principal “care centres”, because of volcanic eruptions.
At the time, relocation on narrow strips of coastal land created conflicts with local people over the use of such resources as land for gardens, water, materials to build houses and access to marine resources.

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