SYDNEY (Reuters) – Volcanic eruptions in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have forced 15,000 villagers in the country’s northeast to flee their homes, aid agencies said on Sunday.
Mount Ulawun on PNG’s northeastern island of New Britain exploded suddenly on Wednesday, shooting an ash column 18 km (11.18 miles) into the air, while nearby Manam erupted on Friday, sending dangerous pyroclastic flows down its slopes.
Casualties - Eruptions - Homes - Plantations - Wells
There were no reported casualties but the eruptions destroyed homes, plantations and wells, leaving villagers without food and water while ash columns disrupted domestic flights.
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said as of Sunday, 3,775 people had fled the Manam eruption and 11,047 people from the Mount Ulawun eruption and taken shelter in refuge centres.
Volcanic - Ash - Area - Particles - Lungs
Volcanic ash has blanketed the area with tiny glass-like particles that can permanently damage the lungs, leading to sickness or death.
Leo Mapmani of the West New Britain Provincial Disaster Centre said health risks from the ash falls meant people were unable to return to their homes while the dust would damage food crops if rains did not wash it off soon.
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