29 Jul 2008

Calls for PNG for state of emergency in Rabaul due to ash fall

8:26 pm on 29 July 2008

The Justice Minister and acting Governor General of PNG, Dr Allan Marat is calling for Papua New Guinea's government to declare a state of emergency in Rabaul, due to continuous ash fall from an active volcano.

The emissions from Mt Tavurvur have been affecting the health of the people and are the main cause of vegetation dying around Rabaul, especially within the Rabaul Caldera.

The Acting Director of the National Disaster Centre Martin Mose says more and more people living in East New Britain are suffering from asthma and dying from it.

"It's only for the good of the people and for their own safety that they need to evacuate out of the area. It's not safe for them to continue to live their because either the volcano erupts again or not, that's not an issue. The issue is that as long as it continues to emit gas into the air, then obviously it will continue to affect the population around that area."

Martin Mose says the disaster centre will be ready to step in to assist people if the government calls for an evacuation.