PANIC was obvious and widespread in many parts of the southern region yesterday morning as men, women and children fled to higher ground after receiving the tsunami warning.
Police in Kerema had to recall people who had fled their villagers in numbers at about midday after deserting their homes and gardens in order to secure a safe spot at higher altitude.
Kerema police station commander, Snr Const Jackson Pari, said he had a big task yesterday afternoon to recall everyone to return to their respective villages.
In Popondetta, the post office and banks were also closed as a precautionary measure but a few shops remained open, provincial police commander Chief Insp Micah Anaiwe said yesterday.
Chief Insp Anaiwe said the locals had obtained the information from their relatives working in a telephone company who rang and raised the alarm.
Villagers in Aroma and along the Papuan coast fled to higher ground, the low tide along their beaches causing fear that a tsunami was imminent.