7 Sep 2002

Seven thousand PNG villagers to be resettled

9:18 am on 7 September 2002

The West New Britain administrator, William Padio, says 7-thousand people will need to be relocated permanently, following the Mt Pago eruptions in the Papua New Guinea province.

Mt Pago started emmitting smoke and ash nearly a month ago and Mr Padio says it will be unsafe for many of the 12-thousand displaced villagers to return to the area.

Mr Padio says the amount of ash covering villages could cause health complications and he says there is also uncertainty about future volcanic activity.

Mr Padio says despite being a saftey issue, relocating villagers is a hard decision to make.

"People have been living in this location for quite a number of years - for ages, and to try and re-locate them would be a very big task. But in any case, at the moment we are just doing educational awareness so they can understand the danger posed by the volcano."

William Padio.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat has released more than nine thousand US dollars to help relief efforts in West New Britain