28 Oct 2004

Food supply at risk for villagers sheltering from PNG volcano

6:11 am on 28 October 2004

Rescue workers in Papua New Guinea have been trying to get fresh water and medical supplies to thousands of villagers sheltering from an erupting volcano.

Mount Iabu, on Manam Island in Madang province, started throwing up lava and ash last week.

The Acting administrator for Madang province Robert Yass says officers from the National Disaster Management Office yesterday helped about 4,000 villagers who've been affected by falling ash.

Mr Yass says about 2,000 people are seeking shelter at a Catholic mission station.

He says there are no reports of injuries but officers are on the ground to monitor the situation.

A spokeswoman for the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare says the villagers are in desperate need of fresh water, food and medical supplies.

She says falling ash has poisoned the water supply and the only shop is running out of food.