THE tsunami warning issued to provinces in the New Guinea Islands region yesterday was taken seriously and most business houses closed and school children were sent home.
And despite the best efforts by the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) to urge the people to remain calm, businesses and offices as well as schools closed as panic spread.
People called from Kieta, Kimbe, Port Moresby, Madang and within ENB wanting to find out from the RVO when the tsunami would hit.
The RVO kept advising them to remain calm and not to panic.
The RVO said it also was in contact with its counterparts in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to check if a tsunami had struck.
In Kieta, the arrival time for a possible tsunami was reported as 10.05am.
The RVO contacted sources at Kieta five minutes later and was told that there was only a small wave.
However, some people in Kieta and Arawa who called their relatives in Kokopo reported that the sea was calm and people were going about their daily activities.
In Buka, people panicked and moved to higher grounds.
In ENB, shops, the ANZ and Bank South Pacific banks closed their doors at 9.30am and sent their employees home.
People were seen rushing to board PMVs to go home.
Parents were seen ushering their children home after they picked them up from school.
BSP employees gathered at the RVO premises.
In NIP and Manus, some business houses and banks closed down as people moved to higher grounds.
Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane is currently on tour in New Ireland and yesterday he visited the Tabar islands, deciding not to cancel his trip.