PNGDF Manam eruption update

The PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) has given the assurance that it has deployed troops to help deal with the aftermath of the Manam volcanic eruption.

In a press briefing today, PNGDF and National Disaster officials gave media an update of the logistics currently on ground in the disaster area.

The PNGDF Commander, Gilbert Toropo, verified that the PNGDF has been on ground since the initial deployment team was sent in on Sunday after the eruption.

As of today, twenty six troops with a medical and communications team have been deployed from Lae with a naval ship currently in Madang to assist with the ferrying of relief supplies by authorities.

Meantime, the Defence Secretary Trevor Meauri would not go into further details about the variables of the deployment but says that at present, the troops are working with the provincial disaster team to contain the situation with locals on ground.

The Acting Director for the National Disaster Centre, Martin Mose, says as of this afternoon, no casualties have been reported, adding that the eruption has been set at a level three category.

He stressed however that the initial aim is not to relocate the islanders off the island but to move them to the other side of the island whilst assessing the situation.

Mose says most likely, while the Rabaul Observatory is monitoring the situation, the initial assessment period is set from between three to six months to monitor, evaluate and assess the volcano.

Presently with troops on ground, Mose says the main priority now is to secure the islanders while also maintaining a close eye on activity from the volcano.

Julianna Waeda