30 Aug 2023

Pacific news in brief for August 30

5:07 pm on 30 August 2023
Mt Bagana eruption emitting significant amount of ash lava flow to nearby villages.

Mt Bagana eruption emitting significant amount of ash lava flow to nearby villages. Photo: Facebook.com / Rø Gå Tõ

Bougainville - eruption update

The threat from the Mt Bagana volcanic eruption in Bougainville has been reduced to level one, allowing many displaced people to return home.

The Rabaul Volcanological Observatory made the decision late last week.

The controller of the emergency in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province, Esther Usurup, announced that internally displaced people from a number of districts no longer under threat can return home.

Meanwhile, thousands remained affected by flooding in the south of Bougainville's main island, and help is still needed, with 220 tons of rice, organised by the office of the South Bougainville national MP, Tim Masiu, arriving this week.

PNG - alcohol

The Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea is imposing a ban on alcohol for the entire month of September.

Governor Simon Sia said the step is needed because the Goroka Show and the 48th anniversary of PNG independence occur next month.

Any drink containing more than six percent alcohol will be banned from Eastern Highlands.

Sia said the ban is the beginning of a new regime as the province moves to counter the impact of alcohol on society.

American Samoa - beaten

The Attorney-General's Office in American Samoa has denied claims of police brutality filed in a lawsuit.

The suit alleges excessive force, denial of medical care, false charges and cover-up attempts.

Attorney Shaun Morrison said his client was "brutally beaten" by officers in 2021.

He said the denial from the Attorney-General's office is not the end of the case - it is a procedural matter, which brings the case into the High Court.

Fiji - affairs

The newly elected head of Fiji's most dominant church says the issue of extramarital affairs by its ministers needs to be "urgently" addressed.

fijivillage.com reported the Methodist Church of Fiji Reverend Dr Semisi Turagavou saying extramarital affairs of their clergymen need to be discussed "openly and freely".

Reverend Turagavou said this was one of the social issues that the church has to deal with.

This week, around 400 ministers from 59 divisions are attending the Methodist Church Conference in the capital Suva.

Reverend Turagavou said the issue of extramarital affairs will be on the agenda at the conference.

Fiji - fire

A fire has destroyed six businesses in the town of Labasa in Fiji.

FBC News reported the fire broke out around midday on Tuesday, starting at a restaurant and spreading to neighbouring shops before being extinguished by firefighters.

Along with the restaurant - the fire destroyed two retail stores, a pharmacy, a shoe repair store and shop under renovation.

No casualities have been reported.

Samoa - cyclone

A cyclone resistant safe house has been been built on Apolima Island in Samoa.

Constructed through a Japanese grant worth over $US176,000, the safe house acts as an emergency centre and refuge in the case of a natural disaster.

A handover ceremony marked its completion.

Apolima is the smallest of the four inhabited islands of Samoa, and in 2006, it had a population of 75.

Japan's government said its completed a total of 224 projects through it's Grass-Roots Human Security Projects programme since 1991.