Ashfall forces suspension of flights into Hoskins, state of emergency declared
30 June, 2019, 7:13 pm
PORT MORESBY, 30 JUNE 2019 (POST COURIER) – Ash fall continues from a rambling Mt Ulewun in West New Britain, affecting flights into the province as the provincial government declared a state of emergency.
More than 5000 people from nearby communities of Ulamona and Bialla are affected.
The WNB government has committed K2.5 million (US$738,000) to assist people affected by the disaster, administrator Williamson Hosea said.
Meanwhile, Air Niugini announced its continued suspension of flights to Hoskins following the eruption of Mt Ulewun on Wednesday.
As a result, hundreds of travelers are stranded in Hoskins with many headings to Kimbe town to seek alternate travel on ships.
The provincial disaster committee agreed to immediately convene to propose relief effort arrangements as temporary and long term for the number of families living at the care centre sites for at least up to a 3-month period.
The committee agreed:
– To immediately activate the emergency operations at the centre so that we can coordinate as soon as possible to provide relief efforts to people being affected;
– To immediately send a rapid response team to assist monitor the situation and assist other response teams already on the ground to collect updated data for the care centre sites so that we can plan for proper relief assistance;
– To declare a Provincial State of Emergency so various stakeholders included in the Ulewun emergency evacuation plan to participate and play an active role in accordance to the volcanic response plan in place with the National Disaster Centre to be on standby also to respond to the emergency situation in WNB Province;
– To immediately consider improving the forward base at Bialla so that relief arrangement can be operated or coordinated out of Bialla;
– Relief assistance with food items and non-food items be immediately stock piled and distributed to the care centre including temporary centers;
– Health response team to be immediately sent into the disaster zone to monitor diseases outbreaks in care centre;
– Police personal to be deployed into the affected areas to establish control mechanisms for law and order issues; and
– The cost is estimated at K2.5 million.
The provincial disaster committee chairman, provincial administrator Williamson Hosea said the provincial government will counter fund the K2.5 million and will seek the national government’s counter funding assistance.
Recommendations were approved during an emergency meeting which was also attended by State Enterprise Minister Sasindran Muthuvel, Governor Maneke, and Transport secretary Roy Mumu apart from other stakeholders.
The provincial education board has suspended all schools in East Nakanai for an indefinite period.