K5mil to feed victims

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By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK and JEFFREY ELAPA
THE Government has allocated K5million to the victims of Mt Ulawun volcano in West New Britain as immediate relief to help feed them.
“Hela Governor Philip Undialu and Pomio MP Elias Kapavore, the Health Minister, are putting in a total of K600,000 as the Government seeks ways to provide immediate relief to about 15,000 people affected by last week’s eruptions.
Conditions on West New Britain worsened as thick, black smoke and lava oozing from the volcano continued to contaminate food, water and crops in the gardens.
No sooner had the nation’s focus turned on Mt Ulawun, another eruption took place across the Bismarck Sea on Manam Island.
Prime Minister James Marape, visiting relief camps in the East Nakanai local level government, said the K5 million was for temporary relief to ensure that people in care centres had food and water.
“But you must have a long-term emergency response plan. And I’m asking the district development authority and provincial authority to have a permanent response plan in place to respond to future eruptions from Mt Ulawun.
“This volcano will still erupt and we can’t have such knee-jerk reactions every time there is an eruption.
“You must have your own response plan so the national government would response quickly because money is not the solution.
“The only factor to solve such a situation is for proper planning so funds will come directly from the national government to the villages.
“The local level government, DDA and provincial government must work together.”
Meanwhile, Marape said the national government had moved the National Disasters and Emergency Office from the Inter-government Relations Ministry to the PNG Defence Force.
“And now PNGDF will respond to such natural disasters throughout the country.”
Kapavore donated K500,000 and Undialu K100,000 with a promise to go to his province to rally his people to make more contributions.
Kapavore said his DDA gave K500,000 to the people affected by the volcano because 2,000 Pomios were part of that population.
Marape told Parliament on Friday that the government would send relief assistance based on request by the provincial government.
He said military had been called to Kimbe to assist in evacuation and relief assistance.
Kandrian-Gloucester MP Joseph Lelang said Mt Ulawun, one of the three active volcanoes on West New Britain, erupted and emitted lava and ash as high as 13km last week, reaching Kimbe town.
They disrupted flights into and from the province and lava affected main roads in the area.
He said there was fear that the other two volcanoes, Mt Pago that erupted in 2002, and Mt Langla, in Gloucester, were both spewing ash and expected to erupt anytime. Those signs were accompanied by trembling and rumblings.

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