Mt Tavurvur Volcanic Eruption Update

Mt Tavurvur volcano activity has subsided but may erupt again anytime, according to the Rabaul Volcano Observatory.

Several villages have been badly affected, causing a forced evacuation of families to outer areas of the inland Gazelle and Kokopo district.

Police personnel and officers from Rabaul continue to maintain surveillance in the Rabaul town area as of yesterday, as ash showers continue to fall.

It has been nearly 10 years since the last massive volcanic eruption in East New Britain.

The province, in preparation for a joint celebration in commemorating a decade after the 1994 eruption, will have to postpone the celebrations.

Nearly 100 families have already been evacuated to various parts of the Gazelle District.

Authorities believe the figures will double if volcano activity continues.

Police are reported to have sealed Rabaul town indefinitely as the event unfolds.

Businesses and schools have halted everything as authorities have issued strong warnings for residents to stay indoors as the volcano activity continues.

Images captured 48 hours ago show the initial stages of the state of the town and what is left of it now.

According to a resident, people were awoken by the sound of the eruption but could not decide whether to run as they were worried about their belongings.

Residents in Rabaul and Kokopo areas woke to loud noises between 3:30 and 4:00am yesterday, followed by heavy ash fall on Friday; the ash fall continued in to Saturday.

While much of the focus has been on the ash fall and possible evacuation, the possible long term effects of this eruption may run into several millions.

Villages and food gardens continue to be covered with layers of ash.

Dust showers are also being experienced by areas several kilometers away from Tavurvur where the volcano is located.

The Gazelle District and various parts of Kokopo are also experiencing dust and earthquakes.

A similar eruption happened in September 1994 and devastated Rabaul's entire town.

Rabaul residents say the eruption that happened yesterday was much bigger than what they have seen in the last 10 years.

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