Thousands who fled PNG volcano could return home soon

2:18 pm on 15 July 2019

Thousands of people who were forced to flee their villages by a volcanic eruption in Papua New Guinea may be able to return home from next week.

Mt Ulawun.

Mt Ulawun Photo: Eroli Tamara

Mt Ulawun, in West New Britain, erupted three weeks ago, blanketing New Britain's northern coast in thick ash, which killed crops and contaminated water supplies.

The UN says those people have been camped out at evacuation centres in conditions it describes as concerning.

It says there are major concerns there could be a disease outbreak, with a lack of access to water and poor sanitation and hygiene conditions.

However, it says the volcano has settled down and people should be able to start returning to their villages over the next week.

The provincial government downgraded its state of emergency on Friday.

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