Madang Province embraces plans to reduce disaster risks

Manam Volcano Credit: National Disaster Centre

Port Moresby, 26 September 2017Madang Government officials are embracing practical plans to reduce risks from disasters that may impact communities in the province.

Madang is home to an active volcano Manam, which had displaced more than 10, 000 people and affected many more after its last massive eruption in 2004. The province is also vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis and floods.

Madang is one of five provinces and regions featured in a risk assessment report produced by a team of experts from the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES) and supported by technical specialists from relevant institutions of Papua New Guinea.

Mr Michael Sembenombo, Project Manager for UNDP’s Disaster Risk Management project said: “This assessment report shows that Madang Province faces serious risks from earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods and landslides.”

“The province’s seismic, tsunami, volcanic eruptions and floods hazards are very high in comparison to other places, based on estimates and disaster modelling developed for the province. This requires urgent and consistent attention to implement risk reduction measures in Madang,” Mr Sembenombo said.

The preliminary results of the assessment report indicate that, in addition to flood risk:

  1. Madang is vulnerable to moderate to high intensity earthquakes
  2. There is potential for tsunami devastation such as the one that occurred in Aitape in 1998, in both the southern and northern coasts of Madang
  3. Madang is highly vulnerable to volcanic eruption with the focus on Manam Island  

To prioritise the disaster risks that have been identified for the province, UNDP held a two-day disaster risk reduction planning workshop in Madang from 20-21 September 2017, with the Madang Provincial Administration and other development and NGO partners working in the province.

Ms Ruth Wazami, Acting District Administrator for Bogia District found the workshop very informative and useful, particularly plans around volcano eruptions as Manam is located in Bogia: “We have this issue regularly and having a disaster risk reduction plan for Bogia District with focus on the evacuation plan for the Manam Islanders accompanied with more practical Communication Plan and Standard Operating Procedures would be more useful for the district in reducing the risk before, during and after the disaster event.”

She further stressed that the disaster risk reduction plans must be developed also at the district level with emphasis on the actions required from District Administration and most vulnerable communities: “We need to increase awareness among the population about the risks. They need to be more familiar with the plans and own them because disasters mostly impact people at the community level,” Ms Wazami said.  

While UNDP and other partners have plans to support the province with partial implementation of the risk reduction plans, the most important commitment is now required from relevant authorities and communities to reduce the risks.

The Disaster Risk Assessment is being conducted as part of the ‘Strengthening Disaster Risk Management in Papua New Guinea’ project, which is implemented by the National Disaster Centre and UNDP and largely funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The project provides strategic support to the Government of PNG to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience to disasters.

Disaster risk reduction planning and assessment results are also being conducted in the two remaining pilot provinces Western Highlands and Simbu this week.
 

Contact information

Media Contacts:
Serahphina Aupong, UNDP Communications Officer, +675 737 48724, serahphina.aupong@undp.org

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