The Prime Minister also again issued a warning for all coastal communities in the north of the country to be on alert for the risk of tsunami resulting from volcanic activity.
“National Government agencies, led by our disciplined services, have been stood-up to respond to volcanic activity on Kadavor Island,” the Prime Minister said.
“Volcanoes are very unpredictable, we are hearing various reports that activity has been building up and we need to take all precautions to keep our people safe.
“We will not take risks with human lives, let’s get people out of harm’s way now, and constantly monitor the activity of the volcano,” he said.
“I have authorised the additional deployment of personnel and assets to assist in the transfer of any people who are in the broader vicinity of the volcano.
“National Government resources are being fully engaged, and are working together with the support of provincial officers, to ensure our people are looked after while there is a risk of eruption.
“Flights in the area have also been cancelled and ships and boats warned to stay away unless they are part of the response to the volcanic activity.”
PM O’Neill has again warned all coastal villages and towns, even those hundreds of kilometres away, to be vigilant to the risk of tsunami.
“The terrain around the volcano is very steep, so this increases the risk of a large landslide that could trigger a tsunami.
“Tsunamis can travel hundreds and thousands of kilometres across open water, so communities must be ready if there is a landslide.
“I call on all media outlets, particularly radio stations, to carry tsunami warnings and help people to be ready in the event of a landslide causing a tsunami.
“Tsunami poses a serious threat and all coastal areas in the north of our country must be on alert.”
The PM O’Neill said as a country on the Pacific Ocean Ring of Fire, Papua New Guinea is very aware of the threats posed by natural disasters.
“We know the damage that can be reaped by a volcano, and only have to look back to Rabaul in 1994,” he said.
“Our National Government agencies have increased their response capacity significantly since the days of the Rabaul volcano.
“We will continue to monitor the situation for ongoing escalation on volcanic activity, and do all we can to protect life and property.”
(Prime Minister Peter O’Neill file pic)