30 Nov 2004

PNG says Manam evacuation ill prepared

3:09 pm on 30 November 2004

The government in Papua New Guinea's Madang province says disaster services were ill-prepared for emergency mass evacuations off Manam Island.

Authorities are evacuating 9,000 people off the island, after the island's volcano threatened a major eruption.

The volcano began erupting a month ago, emitting ash and scoria on villages, ruining food crops and contaminating water sources.

Governor James Yali's personal assistant, Michael Ururu, says so far, 6,000 people have now been evacuated to care centres on the mainland.

But Mr Ururu says there are problems with housing so many evacuees.

"Two thirds have been evacuated already, but the problem is now where to settle them, and what to have above their heads. At this time the bedding is not available to them and shelter is the thing they really need and a water supply."

Mr Ururu says he blames insufficient funds for the lack of emergency provisions, and is appealing to international donors for help.