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Papua New Guinea: Volcanic Activity - Emergency Plan of Action Final Report, DREF n° MDRPG007

Papúa Nueva Guinea
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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) was granted on 11 January 2018 for CHF 83,763 to the PNGRCS. The DREF reached 640 displaced people, who were evacuated from Kadovar Island after volcanic activity in the island.

Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Kadovar Island (East Sepik Province) became active on 5 January. This volcanic activity affected 736 Kadovar islanders and prompted their immediate evacuation to neighboring Blup Blup Island. The Provincial Government has since evacuated Kadovar islanders to mainland East Sepik Province since 14 January. The location for temporary resettlement was identified as Dan Dan (Turubu LLG), east of Wewak Town. The Provincial Government has identified up to 557 people who have resettled at Dan Dan Care Centre. The people evacuated to the mainland are settled temporarily on a small parcel of land on the coast, while the Provincial Government completes negotiations for a larger area for longer term resettlement.

The Madang Branch, under the guidance of the DREF project manager, was tasked with planning the response. The volunteers were on stand-by from the second week of January, preparing their materials and other necessary preparation. Planning commenced in earnest, once the DREF was approved on 11 January. The Secretary General stopped over in Madang on 15 January, this provided an opportunity to discuss the operation and for him to meet the volunteers. On 22 January, the IFRC Head of the Country Office, brought the Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) member to Madang, to introduce him and hold discussions regarding the DREF requirements. The team left for Wewak on 23 January.

A response team of 10 volunteers from Madang branch along with the programme manager and one RDRT from IFRC was deployed to Wewak on 23 January to commence operation planning, coordination, distribution and awareness activities at the Dan Dan Care Centre south of Wewak.
With the DREF allocation, PNGRCS met the needs of affected people and implemented a strategy that included relief distribution; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); hygiene information and dissemination, and displaced people’s community awareness. The scope and budget for this operation enabled the targeted population of 557 people reached directly who were settled in Dan Dan Care Center.

Although there were delays in international procurement which caused this DREF to be extended for two additional months, the implementation of activities for the operation was successfully concluded by 30 April. An approximate balance of CHF 11,583 will be returned to the DREF pool.

Description of the disaster

The remote Kadovar Island volcano became active on 5 January 2018 with mild volcanic activity on the south-eastern side of the island. The Governor’s office conducted an aerial assessment and observed lava flow on the island with an estimated 50-60 per cent of the island covered in lava. The entire population then was relocated to Blup Blup Island, which is an island of about 800 people.

By 6 January, prevailing wind conditions had carried ash clouds west of Kadovar Island. Kadovar (Kadowar) is a small island belonging to the cluster of islands referred to as Schouten Islands. Kadovar is approximately 100km from Wewak (line of sight) and 24km to nearest point on mainland East Sepik province. Kadovar is part of Wewak Island Rural LLG in Wewak District, East Sepik Province.

Accordingly, the Wewak district administration worked with the East Sepik provincial administration and the member of parliament (MP) for Wewak to organize an evacuation. The population of Kadovar were evacuated to Blup Blup Island on 12 January and they received initial support from the provincial government and PNG defence force. They were then moved to the Dan Dan care centre (south of Wewak) from 14-17 January 2018.

Dan Dan Care Centre The total number of people affected in Kadovar Island was 736, who were self-evacuated to Blup Blup Island. Later PNG government moved all of them from Blup Blup Island to be re-settled in Dan Dan Care Centre. However, a number of the affected population chose to move to other locations with their relatives/wontalk3 . There were a total of 557 affected people registered at the Dan Dan Care Centre. This comprises of five community groups, the villages of Manot,
Taragauo, Dong Sarakbano, Niukatnam and Rumgio, with a total of 145 families.

The care centre was quite well organised given the short amount of time and limited resources. Each community has its own designated area within the total space of this site. The care centre occupied a flat area in a small bay surrounded by large hills that is approximately 3.2 hectares in size.

The area is subject to being flooded by either king tides or large rainfall and runoff from the surrounding hills. Due to the confined space, multiple families shared tarpaulins as there is not enough land for individual family sites. Most families have raised platforms off the ground for sleeping. Walking paths have been made along the front and back of the camp with small trails between tarpaulin tents within each community area. Each community area is identified by signs at the entrance to their area. There are limited pit latrines per village area and very limited natural water supply from creeks at either end of the site. There is one generator in the location controlled by government officials with one large flood light to provide lighting. None of the communities have access to individual or community lighting within their tents, in communal areas or for using latrines at night.