24 May 2007

Volcanologists join forces to assess PNG eruption

6:38 pm on 24 May 2007

A team of experts from the Morobe Province and Rabaul in Papua New Guinea is heading to Ritter Island, the scene of a volcanic eruption that forced hundreds of people on nearby Siassi Island to flee to higher ground.

However, reports from Siassi Island say those forced from their homes on Saturday are refusing to return until a team of experts has assessed the situation.

The Morobe Provincial Administrator Manasupe Zurenuoc says they've sent the very best.

"But a team of a few men from our provincial disaster unit here. At the same time the Rabaul volcanic observatory team sending a team across from New Britain in as well and we believe they'll also be on the island tomorrow morning."

Mr Zurenuoc says the teams were forced to go by boat as no helicopters that could travel that distance over water was available.