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March 4, 2021

Social Media Updates Flow As Tavurvur Explodes

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It is now 15 hours since the first images of the Tavurvur volcanic eruption appeared on social networks.

Unlike the 1994 eruption, the flow of information from this emergency has been relatively unprecedented. 


Papua New Guineans all over the country and the world were able to get near real time updates as the spectacular event unfolded from 4am this morning.


Some of the initial pictures were captured by Kokopo-based freelance journalist, Poreni Umau, who was at the scene hours after the eruption.


In a matter of hours, they became some of the most shared pictures on Facebook. He provided up to the minute reports showing the hour by hour state of Rabaul town and surrounding areas.

As conventional media lagged behind, Papua New Guineans turned to social media – particularly Facebook – to get up to the minute updates from Rabaul.


Rabaul residents were woken as early as 4am this morning to loud explosions from the volcano. Businesses have been forced to close because of ash fall.


More than 200 police officers from Kokopo and Tomaringa have been deployed to Rabaul.


Speaking to EM TV this afternoon, provincial police commander, Tony Wagambie  Jr, said  Rabaul has been sealed off but residents have not yet left their homes.


No eviction order has yet been given and while this is an emergency, there is no sense of panic amongst residents.  But the concerns remain that if there is a major eruption, we could see a repeat of the 1994 eruption that buried  the town of Rabaul.


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