ALL businesses in Madang were forced to close yesterday morning as employees fled to higher ground after the tsunami warning was issued.
At 10.30am, the main business hub of the province was empty and all major offices were closed to allow staff members to flee to safety.
The closure of all activities came about after the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii issued a warning that coastal towns in PNG would be hit by a tsunami at 11.23am, a warning relayed by local radio stations.
The three commercial banks in town were the first to shut as employees took off while the customers queuing up in front of the bank tellers were forced to move out as there was no staff to serve them.
The town bus stop was packed to capacity as huge crowds of people waited for vehicles to take them to higher ground like Sisiak towards the Beon jail, New Town, Tabo and Nonob areas.
According to reports from the Modilon General Hospital, many patients ran for their lives with IV drips hanging on them while others were picked up by families.
Modilon Road, the main road out of Madang, was jammed with vehicles and people heading out.
Schools were closed as parents rushed to pick up their children.
The Sisiak Hill was packed with vehicles and people.
Police had no reports of immediate injuries when contacted in the afternoon.
Provincial police commander Chief Insp Anthony Wangamie expressed concern that information was not disseminated properly to the public to better inform them of the situation.
By 11.30am, people and trucks started to move back to town but many of the offices and business remained shut as the employees did not return for work.