Unconfirmed reports redirect evacuation

Attention has shifted from the Kadovar islanders to those on Biem Island, to the east.

Unconfirmed reports that Biem Island in East Sepik may erupt has redirected evacuation efforts.

East Sepik Governor Allan Bird has instructed for the people of Biem to be moved first to the mainland.

The unconfirmed reports coming from the locals on Biem has prompted this swift action.

The evacuation plan, as stated by the East Sepik Governor, Allan Bird, was to get the Biem islanders to the safety of the mainland; this is now immediate.

Evacuation using the PNG Defense Force vessel, the HMS Lakekamu, and a barge from the South Seas Tuna, has begun, to get the 3,000 population off the island and to safety.

A team that is coordinating the evacuation exercise was in Dandan (Dahn Dahn) village in the Turubu LLG today, clearing land that has been allocated for the temporary care centre.

An official from the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory has yet to get to the island to carry out observations, but the Observatory has disputed eruption speculations of Biem Island.

Meantime, Governor Bird and Sir Michael Somare were on Ruprup Island to advise the people there, including the Kadovar islanders, to start packing and ready themselves to be moved to the mainland.

K200,000 was sought from the Provincial Services Improvement Program funds to organise the temporary resettlement arrangement with Turubu LLG.

Governor Bird told the people of Ruprup (Blup Blup) and Kadovar that while they may lose property, important landmarks and food gardens, their life was more important.

He promised them he will take care of them while they are in the care centre at Turubu.

(East Sepik Governor Allan Bird with PNGDF personnel)

Salome Vincent