Mt Ulawun Volcanic Eruption in PNG Prompts Evacuation

KIMBE, Papua New Guinea — November 21, 2023: In a significant event yesterday afternoon, it was reported that Mount Ulawun, identified as one of Papua New Guinea’s most active volcanoes, erupted, emitting ash and evacuating nearby villages. The aftermath of ashfall and lava flows led residents to seek refuge at the local community centre in Kabaia.

However, it has been reported that evacuation efforts are encountering obstacles due to ongoing conflicts with settlers in the region. Displaced residents are reportedly facing difficulties moving westward, prompting immediate intervention from the police and provincial authorities to ensure access to essential goods and services in Bialla and Kimbe.

Papua New Guinea’s Geohazards Management Division has released a statement indicating that the eruption is ongoing, and the risk level of the volcano has escalated to the highest stage, reaching level four.

Ulawun, renowned for its repeated eruptions since the 1700s and experiencing a major one in 2019, continues to pose a serious threat, as reported by authorities. This situation highlights the utmost importance of preparedness and coordination among authorities and residents in the affected areas.

In an update from the Geohazards Management Division, it has been reported that Ulawun’s volcanic activity began on Monday afternoon, with expectations of it persisting indefinitely and raising the risk level to four.

Situated within the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a region prone to seismic activity, Papua New Guinea is reported to face recurring volcanic events. Following the reawakening of Ulawun on the 25th of September 2023, the eruption on the 20th of November, 2023 eruption has a heightened alert level. With the anticipation of reaching level 4 in the coming days, coastal residents have been cautioned to remain vigilant for a potential delayed tsunami.

The ongoing volcanic activity has been emphasized as critical, underscoring the urgent need for preparedness and cooperation among authorities and residents in safeguarding the affected areas.

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