Islanders living close to a volcano erupting in Papua New Guinea have seen their homes devastated by ash and are in desperate need of food and water in a nearby evacuation camp, say local staff working with NGO Plan International Australia.
Mount Tavurvur on the tip of the remote PNG island of East Britain began erupting yesterday, spewing thick smoke and tons of ash into the air and onto surrounding islands and villages.
Particularly badly hit is the nearby town of Rabual and Matupit Island, and around 20,000 people are said to be affected.
Matupit Island is said to be ‘totally devastated’, according to staff working with Plan International Australia who are in contact with locals in the area. Ash is reported to be up to 60 centimetres deep on the ground.
Matupit Islanders have been evacuated to camps in nearby Warangoi, and are in need of food and clean water.
Locals said violent explosions can still be heard for many miles away as the volcano continues to erupt.
Schools in the area have been closed and are expected to remain closed for the next two weeks.
In 1994, an eruption of the volcano destroyed the town of Rabual.
Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded 75 years ago, working in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas and supported by 21 donor countries. Plan is independent, with no religious or political affiliations.
Media contact: Adam Cathro, Plan International Australia, Media Relations Manager, 0488 202 945