30 Aug 2014

As PNG volcano settles, cleanup gets underway

7:17 pm on 30 August 2014

Volcanic activity in Mt Tavurvur, in Papua New Guinea's East New Britain Province, appears to have quietened down as the cleanup gets underway in ash-covered areas near Rabaul.

Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

Rabaul, Papua New Guinea Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Mt Tavurvur erupted in the early hours of Friday morning spewing ash and rock onto nearby villages, destroying crops and contaminating water supplies.

There have been no reports of injuries or major infrastructure damage.

A hotel owner in Rabaul, Rory Stewart, says the town of 7 thousand was largely untouched thanks to the wind direction, but villages to the north have spent most of the weekend cleaning up.

"The village of Malekina - it's just really an annex to the town - moderate to heavy ashfall on that particular village. Some local houses had a heavy ash buildup and the roofs came down, but pretty much all the gardens are destroyed and the coconut trees as well. Basically everybody's out-and-about brushing up what ash did fall. But the shops and businesses have been open as normal."

Rory Stewart says the eruption wasn't as serious as first thought, and he's still had tourists checking into his hotel over the weekend.

Tavurvur volcano, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea

Tavurvur volcano, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades