Thursday, March 02, 2006

Papua New Guinea has habitants fleeing

Hundreds of people have been told to leave a remote Papua New Guinea island after its volcano re-erupted throwing up huge black ash clouds and spewing out rock flows.

The volcano on tiny Manam island last erupted in October 2004, prompting the evacuation the following month of more than 9,000 people after heavy ash falls destroyed houses and food crops and contaminated water sources.

Islanders were relocated in camps on the PNG mainland's north coast opposite Manam but several hundred people have since returned to the island as volcanic activity subsided.
PNG's Volcanological Observatory in Rabaul on Tuesday reported a strong eruption from Manam's southern crater on Monday evening.

Eruptions continued into the night with black ash clouds rising up to 2km along with the ejection of glowing lava fragments and small rock and lava flows down the mountain.

The district administrator and three police officers visited the island on Tuesday to assess the situation and try to encourage islanders scattered in several villages around the mountain's base to leave.

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