1 Aug 2005

Red Cross seeks to establish permanent presence in PNG's West New Britain

4:07 pm on 1 August 2005

The Red Cross is seeking to establish a permanent presence in the Papua New Guinea province of West New Britain.

Its workers are handing out water containers and tarpaulins to about 7-hundred villagers hit by ashfall from the Mount Langila volcano.

The volcano has died down in recent weeks but villagers in the Gloucester area are being warned to store drinking water because of contamination to their water sources.

The secretary general of the PNG Red Cross, Jacqueline Boga, says the organisation is setting up a permanent branch in the area, and talks are already under way.

"We consider West New Britain to be one of our more disaster-prone areas. It's just fortunate that we've already got a working committee there, we in fact had some volunteers on the ground there, and with the help of trained volunteers from East New Britain to go out and do the distribution on the ground."