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NZ aid for volcano affected PNG communities

23 August 2002 Media Statement

NZ aid for volcano affected PNG communities

New Zealand is giving up to $100,000 in emergency relief to support communities affected by the eruption of Mt Pago in the West New Britain province of Papua New Guinea.

Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Marian Hobbs says the New Zealand Agency for International Development would make up to $100,000 available to the West New Britain provincial government for food and other supplies.

"Of the 30,000 people affected by the eruption, 10,000 to12,000 have left their villages and most are now living in care centres," Marian Hobbs said.
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare said gardens, water supplies and oil palm plantations around Mount Pago were drastically affected.

Volcanic activity from Mt Pago began on August 5. Australian vulcanologists expected ash and lava flows would be similar to those witnessed during eruptions in 1911 and 1933 causing months of displacement for residents.

The West New Britain Provincial Disaster Management Committee made a plea this week for an initial NZ$2.3million in emergency funds. The Papua New Guinea Government has committed $1.2m and New Zealand and other donors were asked to meet the shortfall.

Funds contributed to the appeal would be used to buy tents, water tanks, food, transport and machinery hire, mosquito nets, water purification tablets, and fuel.

It was expected PNG will require a further NZ$2.9million to meet resettlement costs.


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