Volcano spew rocks, Manam people are starving, says councillor


MANAM volcano in Madang continues to spew scoria (volcanic rock) and ash destroying food gardens on the island.
The volcano erupted last Friday – five weeks after its last major eruption on Dec 8.
On Sunday, it blasted again, spewing scoria over Dugulava village.
Ward councillor Paul Maburau said banana plants, which people depend on as a staple food, were covered by scoria and ash.
Maburau said women and children were now looking for food.
Many were eating galip nuts and coconuts.
Maburau said people were frustrated because since the eruption last week, no Government team had set foot on the island to assess the situation.
Iabu local-level government president Kenny Boli said Manam volcanic eruption was becoming a normal activity that Government did not pay any more attention to.
“It’s like it’s normal, it’s OK, we’ll be OK after all,” he said.
“The reality on the ground is that people are starving.
“Manam people are survivors so we know how to survive, but at least think of our old ones and the children.
“The continuous volcanic eruption calls for more consideration to be given on the Manam resettlement project.”
Boli said lava flowed down its usual route from the crater between Kolang and Bokure villages.
He said scoria and thick ashfalls continued to shower Warisi, Bokure, Abaria and Gulei villages.
People were evacuated to safe zones, out of the affected villages.
Boli said people with family ties at Murik Lakes in East Sepik and other parts of Bogia were arranging sago and other garden crops to feed their families on the island.
Those who could not were the ones really suffering.
Maburau said more people, especially children, would be prone to water-borne diseases after the eruption.