U.S. gives K1.85 million for volcanic eruption victims in PNG

Volcano recovery efforts (Photo: IOM Papua New Guinea)

In response to the volcanic eruptions at Mount Ulawun in Papua New Guinea, the United States, through USAID, has allocated K1.85 million (US$500,000) to provide immediate emergency assistance.

The aid aims to address the urgent needs of affected communities and aid displaced families in their safe return home. This contribution supplements ongoing disaster preparedness programmes, with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) deploying experts to assess evacuee needs.

Mount Ulawun’s eruptions since 20 November have claimed lives, impacting over 24,000 people and displacing 16,000 to evacuation centres in East New Britain and West New Britain provinces.

The volcanic activity has caused ash plumes to reach 15,000 metres, damaging oil palm trees, water sources, gardens, and properties in the vicinity.

U.S Embassy Chargé d’A aires Katherine Monahan stated: “Leveraging our humanitarian expertise, the United States is pleased to answer the request of our partner, the Government of Papua New Guinea, and support its efforts in response to eruptions at Mount Ulawun.”

USAID has a history of investing in disaster risk reduction programmes in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific since 2013. These initiatives, in collaboration with IOM, focus on community-based disaster management planning and safe shelter support. Notably, USAID recently aided the response to the Mount Bagana eruption, providing US$500,000 in relief items, with U. S military assistance ensuring the efficient delivery of emergency relief in challenging terrains.