Wewak police warn against false tsunami warnings

Wewak residents are being warned about false information or unnecessary panic caused by individuals or organizations.

This follows an incident early this morning, where Wewak residence were forced to get out of their beds between 4 and 5am after receiving warnings of a Tsunami.

A local had posted online seeking advice on whether there was a known warning from relevant authorities that they were not aware of, which could have triggered this panic in Wewak town.

However East Sepik police Commander, Robert Gesa said that this was an unnecessary move that should have been avoided.

PPC Gesa added that although it is okay for the locals to be alert, especially given their proximity to an active Volcano, it is a whole other issue when a whole town goes into panic mode.

The Commander says that there was no Tsunami warning yesterday adding that if there was one, he would be one of the first people to know.

He noted also that – although there are warnings of the situation escalating due to the increasing activity on kadovar Island, he says at this moment the situation is being observed and Wewak locals have no reason to panic.

The PPC added that relevant authorities including the Police, Defense, Disaster office and the provincial government were briefed by Volcanic experts over the weekend in regards the situation on the Island.

A Tsunami will only be caused by earthquakes generated in a subduction zone, which is an area where an oceanic plate is being forced down into the mantle by plate tectonic forces.

On this knowledge, the Volcanic experts say a Tsunami may only occur if the Island cannot hold the pressure from the Volcano any longer and erupts; at the moment the Island is at a Closed crater stage; having only vents that are spewing out lava into the sea.

PPC Gesa further assured that police personnel are observing the town and coastlines for any signs of Tsunami activities and will warn locals appropriately.

Imelda Wavik
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