’94 eruption stories delivered

The National,Thursday June 30th, 2016

PEOPLE living in Rabaul, East New Britain who were at school during the volcanic eruption in 1994, can access the essays they had written about the event.
The three boxes containing the essays written by the school children have been handed over to the National Library and Archives.
Chris McKee of the Geophysical Observatory in Port Moresby helped in delivering the boxes of the children’s stories to the National Library and Archives director general Kakaito Kasi.
In a statement, McKee said in the months following the violent and destructive eruptions, school children were told to write and illustrate an essay on their experience of the eruption.
The activity was initiated by the then Secretary of the Department of East New Britain, Ellison Kaivovo.
It was led by an Australian-based anthropologist Dr Klaus Neumann.
He said the stories was collected and stored in Canberra, Australia with the help of former Geoscience Australia volcanologist Dr Wally Johnson. It was decided recently that the stories should be kept in PNG.
Efforts were made over the last year to bring them back to the National Library and Archives.
McKee said the essays recorded an historic event in PNG through the eyes of children.
“This perspective is rarely recorded, but these stories provide valuable insights into how children themselves experienced the threat and trauma of one of PNG’s most significant natural disasters,” McKee said.