Aid convoys are being deployed to the Papua New Guinea province affected by the eruption of Mt Ulawun, the state enterprises minister says.
15,000 people in West New Britain province have been displaced from their villages near the mountain, which erupted on Wednesday.
Many have no shelter and have spoken of a desperate need for food and water.
The minister, Sasindrahn Muthuvel, who is a local MP, said trucks had left from the provincial capital, Kimbe, but help was needed from outside the province.
"I see the immediate need is like arranging some food, and arranging some clean water and also shelters for them.
"In fact, the people from the Red Cross is going... with some relief supplies. It may not last for a week."
Mr Muthuvel said he was seeking help from the national government.