Bougainvilleans urged to evacuate after eruption at Mt Bagana

Mount Bagana, Bougainville

The government in Papua New Guinea’s autonomous Bougainville (ABG) region has issued a stage three alert seven days after Mt Bagana began a mild eruption.

The government said on Monday there has been a significant amount of ash and lava flow to villages near the base of the volcano.

Heavy ash is affecting several following areas in Torokina in South Bougainville.

According to Aloysius Làukaì from Arawa: “The people of Torokina have been without food and water due to the continuous rains throughout Bougainville and the minor eruption of the active volcano in the area, the Mt Bagana, made matters worse.”

The government said those communities are to evacuate immediately, taking only essential items, and to go to the Piva District station.

Villages in Wakunai are also experiencing heavy ash fall that has contaminated all water sources and villagers have been asked to move to the Disaster Centre at the Wakunai District Station.

The government said it is imperative that all those in impact zones adhere to the instructions of their District Disaster Team and listen to further radio announcements from the Office of the Chief Secretary.

The Autonomous Government said it had the full support of the PNG National Disaster Centre, which is coordinating efforts with the PNG Defence Force to conduct an aerial assessment of the eruption and its effects. It has asked people to remain calm as Mt Bagana was being closely monitored and said there would be daily updates.