By ELIZABETH VUVU
THE Rabaul Volcano Observatory has confirmed the level three alert for the Manam Island volcano in Madang, The National reports.
Volcano experts yesterday said despite a decline in eruptive activity, people on the island had been advised to stay away from the four main radial valleys.
They said people should refrain from working on the upper slopes of the volcano because they might be affected by falling lava fragments and scoria from strong explosions.
“The depositions of new loose eruptive material on the upper slopes of the volcano, and the rainy season, have the potential to trigger mudflows,” the observatory said.
It said people must take precaution by staying away from places where mudflows occurred in the past, and other potential water flowing catchments areas where mudflows could easily form.
Officials said a stage three alert allowed for voluntarily evacuation from the island.
However, due to ongoing eruptive activity and the sporadic phases of strong activity and the possibility of more catastrophic events as observed in 2004-05, experts recommended that the national and provincial disaster committees consider evacuating people from critical locations on the island at an appropriate and convenient time.
Last Saturday, mild eruptive activity picked up again at the southern crater after a short lull following strong activity last Thursday. These included weak to moderate volumes of dark grey ash clouds rising about 200-300m above the summit crater.
RVO said no audible noises were heard and, at night, very bright continuous red was visible.
The main crater released weal to moderate volumes of grey ash clouds and low booming noises were heard for a brief period.
Power problems prevented data transmission to RVO since 6pm last Thursday due to a faulty fuse and battery.