Sunday, July 23, 2006

More evacuations due to eruption

MORE than 1000 people from three villages within the PNG province of West New Britain have now been evacuated after two volcanoes, dormant for more than 100 years, erupted.

Those evacuated are now said to be sheltering in care centres near the town of Bialla after Mount Karai and Mount Bamus began emitting vapour, ash and smoke in the past week, according to ABC Asia Pacific TV.

Provincial disaster officials and officers from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) are closely monitoring the situation, the National newspaper reported, with the possibility of more widespread evacuations if volcanic activity becomes more violent.

An official from the observatory told the paper earthquakes in the affected area, measuring between 1 and 5 on the Richter scale, were being felt every hour.

New seismographic equipment was also said to have been set up near Mount Bamus to assist monitoring efforts.

According to the National, this is the first recorded eruption for Mount Karai while it is the first time in 120 years for Mount Bamus.

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