Volcanic eruption kills 2, destroys village
Thousands evacuate South Pacific island
December 4, 1996
Web posted at: 10:50 p.m. EST (1550 GMT)
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (CNN) -- At least two people
were killed and thousands of villagers were evacuated
Wednesday from the Papua New Guinea island of Manam after a
volcano spewed plumes of ash and lava high into the air.
(1.1 MB / 27 sec. Papua New Guinea volcano QuickTime movie)
There was an unconfirmed report of a third death.
Hours after the eruption, lava flows snaked through the
forests of the South Pacific island, destroyed the village of
Buduwa and poured into the sea, making evacuation efforts
"It's very difficult for the vessels to go in, so (villagers)
are going to have to be taken out by small boats," said Leith
Anderson, director of the National Disaster and Emergency
Services in the capital Port Moresby.
By Wednesday evening, some 1,500 villagers had been ferried
by boat nine miles (15 km) away to the Papua New Guinea
mainland, an officer for the Madang provincial government
said. The injured were being treated there for burns and
other wounds. He said some 1,000 other villagers would be
Provincial government officials said only villages in the
path of the lava were being evacuated. There are a total of
7,000 people on the island.
The volcano's last eruptions were in 1991 and 1992. Papua New
Guinea is on the Pacific's volcanic belt called the "Ring of
Emergency services on Manam had been monitoring the volcano
for the past month, but declared a stage-four alert Tuesday
In 1957, the village of Buduwa was relocated after it was
destroyed by a volcanic eruption.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Related sites: Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
© 1996 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.