3 Nov 2005

Evacuation plan drawn up as activity builds at PNG's Mt Garbuna volcano

3:13 pm on 3 November 2005

Authorities in Papua New Guinea say they are ready to begin the process of evacuating up to 17,000 people threatened by the erupting volcano, Mount Garbuna.

The deputy director of the West New Britain disaster management office, Peter Dringo, says volcanic activity is still building and an evacuation plan has now been prepared.

Mr Dringo says if the order is given, officials will go to the villages near the mountain and advise residents on the evacuation procedure, either on foot or by boat.

Mr Dringo says in the event of an evacuation, jungle land would need to be cleared to accommodate refugees.

He says at the moment temporary care centres would have to be established in schools and oil palm blocks.

Mr Dringo says land clearance would be the problem, and not consent of landowners, which was an issue when officials had to organise accommodation for refugees from Manam Island volcano which erupted last year.