The National- Tuesday, January 25, 2011
By JAYNE SAFIHAO
MADANG Governor and Rai Coast MP James Gau has allocated K300,000 from the provincial purse, apart from creating a Manan office, specifically to handle the crisis.
With the 2011 annual budget of K97.6 million to be handed down today, Gau said after meeting with Manam leaders at the weekend, the creation of the office would be seen as the platform for resolving the Manam crisis.
“I have created a Manam office with Yabu LLG president Lawrence Punaka as the caretaker.
“We intend to form a Manam restoration committee separate from the previous taskforce that never met to implement the national executive council (NEC) approved K15 million for the resettlement plan,” he said.
Gau said the main agenda in the upcoming NEC meeting in Wewak, East Sepik, would be the Manam issue. Means of sourcing funds from government to identify suitable resettlement land for purchase and permanent resettlement are just some of the items to be discussed.
Meanwhile, Rabaul Volcano Observatory officer Herman Tibong, who spoke from Manam on Sunday afternoon, said thick clouds still covered the southern and the main crater blocking visibility but there was a one to two minute intervals of rumbling sounds on Saturday with 5-10 minute intervals on Sunday.
“At night, there is a bright steady glow from both craters but the southern crater is the one that is rumbling, producing little ash fall over the south side,” he said.
Tibong also said Dugulava villagers who fled are still at Postdam and received food rations last Wednesday but are still awaiting the all-clear to return.
Attempts to reach Norman Philemon from the provincial disaster office and Bogia district administrator Paul Akuram for an update were unsuccessful.