Islands News

Disaster-Prone East New Britain Lacks Evacuation Plan

By Edwin Fidelis – EM TV, Kokopo

Rabaul District has made a special call to the national government, as well as its provincial government, to assist in setting up a provincial disaster emergency plan.

Rabaul District Administrator Marakan Uvano says East New Britain lacks a proper emergency evacuation plan for disaster-related events.

Continued earthquakes in the province brought on concerns amongst the East New Britain people on their readiness for big disasters. It has been almost twenty years since the last major eruption devastated the town of Rabaul in 1994.

The evacuation of the people to safer areas at the time was based on an effective provincial disaster emergency plan. Over the last 24 months, East New Britain has been hit hard again by a series of earthquakes and a minor eruption.

This string of natural disasters has, yet again, brought to light the outdated provincial disaster plan that is now 20 years old. People living in disaster prone areas made calls to the provincial government to come up with a disaster plan. 

Having a well-established disaster emergency plan would mean the swift evacuation of people and avoidance of casualties, at all costs, in the event of a disaster. East New Britain province remains a volcano and earthquake prone region, but questions on the preparedness for the province in responding to major disasters still remains unanswered.

A disaster emergency plan contains plans to evacuate the people, food supplies, emergency exit routes and other essentials needed in times of disasters.

But that is a step that East New Britain hasn’t quite reached yet.

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