Category Archives: Natural Disaster

State resources to support evacuation: PM


Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has directed all relevant State resources be made available to support the evacuation of people at risk due to volcanic eruptions on Kadovar Island in the East Sepik region.



The Prime Minister also again issued a warning for all coastal communities in the north of the country to be on alert for the risk of tsunami resulting from volcanic activity.



“National Government agencies, led by our disciplined services, have been stood-up to respond to volcanic activity on Kadavor Island,” the Prime Minister said.



“Volcanoes are very unpredictable, we are hearing various reports that activity has been building up and we need to take all precautions to keep our people safe.



“We will not take risks with human lives, let’s get people out of harm’s way now, and constantly monitor the activity of the volcano,” he said.



“I have authorised the additional deployment of personnel and assets to assist in the transfer of any people who are in the broader vicinity of the volcano.



“National Government resources are being fully engaged, and are working together with the support of provincial officers, to ensure our people are looked after while there is a risk of eruption.



“Flights in the area have also been cancelled and ships and boats warned to stay away unless they are part of the response to the volcanic activity.”



PM O’Neill has again warned all coastal villages and towns, even those hundreds of kilometres away, to be vigilant to the risk of tsunami.



“The terrain around the volcano is very steep, so this increases the risk of a large landslide that could trigger a tsunami.



“Tsunamis can travel hundreds and thousands of kilometres across open water, so communities must be ready if there is a landslide.



“I call on all media outlets, particularly radio stations, to carry tsunami warnings and help people to be ready in the event of a landslide causing a tsunami.



“Tsunami poses a serious threat and all coastal areas in the north of our country must be on alert.”



The PM O’Neill said as a country on the Pacific Ocean Ring of Fire, Papua New Guinea is very aware of the threats posed by natural disasters.



“We know the damage that can be reaped by a volcano, and only have to look back to Rabaul in 1994,” he said.



“Our National Government agencies have increased their response capacity significantly since the days of the Rabaul volcano.



“We will continue to monitor the situation for ongoing escalation on volcanic activity, and do all we can to protect life and property.”


Author: Press release

Photo Credit: Loop PNG.

Inception workshop to strengthen food production

An inception workshop is underway at the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) headquarters, outside Lae, to put into perspective issues associated with food production.



The project “Strengthening food production capacity and the resilience to drought of vulnerable communities” is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by NARI in partnership with provincial and district administrations, and other relevant NGOs.



The workshop is expected to attract over 40 representatives from 20 districts of 11 lowland provinces to be covered under this project. Senior managers of NARI and representatives from EU office in PNG are also expected to participate in this event.



The two-day event starts on Wednesday, 25 October and ends on Thursday, 26 October.



It is expected to provide an opportunity for participants to establish common understanding on the objectives, major activities to be undertaken and the expected outcomes of the project.



The overall objective of the workshop is to gather all potential partners to select and confirm target project sites in each of the identified districts, plan activities for year one and firm up partnership arrangements in order to start the implementation phase.



The 4-year project, launched in May, is expected to be completed in 2021. The overall objective of this Euro 3 million EU supported project is to contribute to achieving a greater resilience of smallholder farming and rural communities in PNG to abiotic stresses arising from seasonal weather patterns, climate change or natural disasters impacting on their livelihoods.



The full implementation phase is expected to commence in January next year and will cover various sites in Madang, Morobe, East Sepik, Sandaun, Manus, West New Britain, Central, Milne Bay, Western, Gulf and Northern provinces. These target sites, selected based on assessment reports of various institutions, including the PNG National Disaster Centre, have been found to be among the worst affected areas during the recent 2015 – 2016 El Niño induced drought.



NARI, as the lead implementing agency, hopes to use this workshop organised for provinces in the Momase and Islands region to formalise partnerships and to obtain the commitment of respective provinces and districts to provide their support for the successful implementation of the project.



A similar workshop is planned for the provinces in the southern region in mid-November.



(Participants of the official launching of the project on Kiriwina, Milne Bay Province, last May)


Press Release

Provinces To Review Existing Disaster Management Systems

Imelda Wavik

​Participating provinces involved in the ‘Strengthening Disaster Risk Management in Papua New Guinea’ program will be assessing the existing Disaster Management (DRM) capacities.

This assessment will be to identify strengths, weakness, gaps and opportunities.

The assessment information will then be used to produce Capacity Development Plans for each province to assist in the use of available resources and focus on the areas where there are capacity challenges.

Each province involved will initiate development of their draft Disaster Management Plan, Standard Operating Procedures and a DRM Capacity Assessment.

There will also be follow up tasks that will be captured in an Action Plan, highlighting immediate, medium and long term priority matters to be addressed.

If this approach is successful in these pilot provinces, there is a potential to eventually expand the project to other regions in the country, in order to support other provinces improve their disaster management systems.

No help! No Vote!


More than 5000 villagersin Anglimp-South Waghi, Jiwaka, vow to boycott the National Election over the Government’s lack of response to their cry for help

Severe storms and flash floods have become an election issue in the Anglimp-South Waghi District of Jiwaka Province.

More than 5000 people near the raging Tuman River vowed last Friday to boycott the 2017 National Election because of the lack of action by the National Government to address their call for help since 2013.

jiwaka SDA church

The flood victims at Bunum village near Kindeng Market vowed not to take part in the election as they were hit once more by wild weather and an untamed river, a tributary of Waghi River.

Further north, in North Waghi, their neighbours are still battling to come to terms with the detection of the destructive coffee berry borer (CBB( in at least 10 locations near Banz (see story, page 4).

Bunum village community leader Mark Malt said they had been waiting in vain for Government assistance for five years since the Tuman River changed it’s course and ran through their village, destroying their homes, properties, food gardens and domestic animals.

Mr Malt said fortunately, no lives were lost but the people deserted their village en masse and took refuge with other neighbouring tribes because the river had become a serious threat.

Heavy rain that had already fallen in Jiwaka Province has seen thousands of people cut off, and evacuation made by the people themselves to higher grounds.

In the latest floods, the unpredictable Tuman River washed away 300 metres of the Kindeng-Kondopina Highway, completely cutting off access with more than 50,000 people of Dei district, Western Highlands Province, and North Waghi who depend on this road.

Mr Malt said that their lives have been affected for more than four years and remained unchanged because of the lack of Government intervention.

He said the villagers have raised the issue with authorities in the province but their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

“We were crying for help but nobody is helping us, thus we will not take part in the National Election because it has no meaning to us.

“It is just a plain waste of time to vote for any leader because we do not feel wanted by our parliamentarians in the province,” he added.

The National Weather Service had warned that nationwide storms with heavy rainfall and rough seas are expected to continue this month.

Mr Malt said that villagers would appreciate that in times of rain authorities issue flood warnings for rivers, including Tuman, and evacuation orders issued coupled with the complementing relief supplies.

National Weather office unable to send out alert


EARTHQUAKE and tsunami warnings were unable to be dispensed by the PNG National Weather Service after the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre confirmed the natural hazards.

The National Weather Service assistant director, forecasting and warning centre, Jimmy Gomoga said the office was incapable of issuing any threat as there was no severe signal on its system since yesterday.

“We were aware that there was a tsunami threat issued yesterday afternoon by the US Geological Survey after a major magnitude of 8.0 earthquake struck West Panguna in Bougainville, however, our system cannot monitor earthquakes and tsunamis,” he said.

Mr Gomoga said Papua New Guinea receives earthquakes and tsunami warning from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in the United States.


Assistant director at PNG’s Geophysical Observatory Office in Port Moresby Chris McKee said the greatest tsunami threat had been to Bougainville and that threat had passed without any report of a tsunami.

“I suspect that because of the great depth of the earthquake, there was probably no significant tsunami,” Mr McKee said.

However, according to a report, Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre warned that waves of between 0.3 and one metre (1-3 feet) above tide level were possible for some coastal areas of PNG and the neighbouring Solomon Islands.

“Even though it is quite deep at 150 kilometres, because it is such a large earthquake, it will produce shaking on the surface,” Geoscience Australia seismologist Spiro Spiliopoulos told AFP.

Earthquakes are common near Papua New Guinea, which lies on the 4000-kilometre-long Pacific Australia plate.

It forms part of the “Ring of Fire”, a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

The Bureau of Meteorology also confirmed that there was no tsunami threat to Australia.