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PNG Kadovar Island Volcanic Eruption Update

During a Press Conference attended by Governor of East Sepik Allan Bird, Member for Wewak Kevin Isifu, Director National Disaster Mose, Secretary of Defense Trevor Meauri and the PNGDF Chief of Staff Col. Numa for the update of what is happening on the Kadovar Island in the East Sepik Province, regarding the volcanic eruption and what steps are being taken to assist the 591 men, women and children of Kadovar Island.
The Kadovar is located at the border of Madang and East Sepik and is one of the six islands in the SCHOUTEN group of islands. According to the Rabaul Volcanic Observatory, Kadovar Island volcano is likely to erupt and if it does, volcanoes on the nearby islands of Ruprup and Biem are also likely follow suit.
Due to the geographical isolation of the islands, evacuation is a difficulty but fortunately two ward councilors from Kadovar and the Ruprup islands took the initiative to organize the evacuation of 591 men, women and children of the Kadovar Island to the Ruprup Island, hence no causalities currently.

All three Islands have an estimated population of 5000 plus but hopefully, the Authorities won’t need to evacuate all of them but the planning currently undertaken takes into account the worst case scenario. In the next few days the East Sepik Provincial Government and the National Disaster Office will be getting detail reports from all National Agencies concerned to access the current situation and deal with it in the most orderly and organized manner to assist the victims of this Natural Disaster currently faced.

Currently Police and Defense Force Personnel on ground have been working closely with the Provincial Authorities since day one. A helicopter from the PNGDF Air element has been deployed for reconnaissance of the islands, a PNGDF Patrol boat from Manus will be on standby if there is a need for evacuating a large number of people and a PNGDF Landing Craft will be departing Port Moresby in the next 24 hours with most needed food, water and medical supplies for the islands.

The East Sepik Provincial Government is assuming the worst case scenario and planning and moving things as fast as they can. This includes a complete evacuation of the 5000 people if the 3 volcanic eruption does happen. As per the advice from the Rabaul Volcanic Observatory due to the shallowness of the area and the type of volcano Kadovar is, there is a chance of a Tsunami happening which could endanger the neighboring Islands and those along the Wewak coastline to as far as the mouth of the Sepik River including the Murik Lakes and villages along the Madang coast.

Long term, due to over population in the Schouten Islands , plans have been discussed and some agreements reached in the past but these events currently has given incentive to the Sepik Provincial Government to plan for a permanent relocation and resettlement of people from the Schouten Island to the coast of Turubu in the Province.

By Roderick MANDAU | PNGFM

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