12 Nov 2002

PNG disaster office confident Mt Pago victims are cared for

6:25 pm on 12 November 2002

The National Disaster Management Office in Papua New Guinea says it is confident that victims of the Mt Pago eruptions are being fed properly.

Local newspapers have reported that people are going hungry in the West New Britain care centres, which were set up after around 15-thousand people were evacuated when the Mt Pago volcano started emitting ash and smoke in August.

The West New Britain administrator, William Padio, has denied the reports and says they are nothing but a smear campaign.

The Management Office director, Eric Ani, says he believes Mr Padio and is sure there is no food shortage in the centres.

"People who have other agendas, spreading rumours or spreading false stories about what is going on. I did have a talk to the administrator last week and this very problem was brought up. I asked about it and he assured me everything was okay. Maybe those whoever said it has something to do that is not in the best interests of the people that are affected or the administration."

Mr Ani says he will visit the care centres next week.

Meanwhile the West New Britain provincial executive has urged victims from low risk areas to return home and begin rebuilding their lives.