1 Mar 2006

Latest eruption of PNG's Manam volcano described as very severe

7:52 pm on 1 March 2006

An observer says the latest eruption of the Manam Island volcano in Papua New Guinea is more severe than one 16 months ago which led to thousands of villagers being evacuated.

The executive officer for the Manam Island Humanitarian Implementation Committee, Don Bivi, says people had begun returning to the island in recent weeks to harvest from their gardens.

He says about 2,000 people are now being moved back to the mainland in a process that will take several days.

Mr Bivi says the latest eruption, which began on Sunday night, was dramatic.

"It was very severe compared to the 24 October 2004. It happened in all the three valleys with ash fall and scoria and lava flow as well, in all the three valleys."