PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Papua New Guinea’s East New Britain province was have been woken early on Good Friday by a magnitude-6.9 earthquake. According to the US Geological Survey, the quake was centred on land at a depth of ten kilometres in Pomio district, 144 kilometres east of Kimbe. It’s the same area around the south east coast of New Britain where a 6.3 quake hit on Monday, as well as a 5.6 quake three weeks ago. The quake woke communities across New Britain at around 7am local time, prompting the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre to issue an initial warning for within 300 kilometres of the epicentre. Residents in the region have spoken of a quake that lasted minutes, startling many villagers, causing houses to shake violently and items to fall off shelves.
ash and acid rain damaging crops
VANUATU – GNS scientists helping to monitor an erupting volcano in Vanuatu say large ash falls and acid rain are damaging crops, water supplies and buildings. Manaro Voui volcano started erupting last September, prompting Vanuatu authorities to order all 1100 residents of Ambae island to evacuate immediately. People were allowed to return in October when volcanic activity subsided. A GNS Science volcanologist, Brad Scot said the volcano had become more active in the last ten days. “There have been gardens covered by ash, limbs on trees broken. Some of the roofs over buildings and water supplies have since collapsed due to the weight of the volcanic ash.” Scott said water samples from Ambae hae been send to New Zealand for testing..
FLASH FLOOD AMID VOLCANIC ERUPTION
VANUATU – A flash flood has struck a village on the island of Ambae, destroying about 30 houses and affecting more than 100 people. The Daily Post said the flood struck as the area has been trying to recover from last month’s cyclone Hola while trying to cope with ash fall from Manaro volcano. There is no information about any casualties. The government has already sent emergency food supplies to the island and approved US$400,000 to be spent on short term food and supplies in the disaster zones of west and south Ambae. The island’s MP Alickson Vira had appealed to the government to declare the whole island a disaster zone and to identify evacuation centres for when volcanic eruption increases to level 3. Vira said victims don’t know where to go for safety from worsening ash fall.
TONGA DENIES PACER PLUS WITHDRAWAL
TONGA – Tonga’s prime minister has denied that Tonga has withdrawn from the regional trade deal known as Pacer Plus. The deal was signed in Nuku alofa last June by 10 countries including Australia, New Zealand and Tonga. Last week, Matangi Tonga reported that ‘Akilisi Pohiva admitted that the agreement was found to be inappropriate for Tonga and the country was no longer a signatory. However Kaniva News now quotes him as saying he did not make that statement nor did he say anything that even suggested, or could be translated or interpreted, that Tonga was no longer a signatory to Pacer Plus. Regional countries which stayed away from last year’s signing were Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.