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Papua New Guinea volcano: Islanders flee worsening eruption

About 1,500 people are being evacuated from islands off Papua New Guinea, where a long-dormant volcano has started erupting, the Red Cross says.

The volcano on Kadovar island began emitting smoke and ash last week, prompting the evacuation of more than 500 people to nearby Blup Blup island.

But as the eruptions have become more violent, those who fled Kadovar will now have to be taken to the mainland.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is home to a number of active volcanoes.

Witnesses on Blup Blup, to the north of Kadovar island, reported a large explosion from the volcano on Friday and a fiery red glow coming from the summit. Scientists later detected large amounts of toxic sulphur dioxide emitting from the volcano.

PNG Red Cross Secretary General told Reuters news agency that funds had been made available to help evacuees move to the mainland.

“The people there, as the volcano erupted, they rushed immediately to escape. So they are in immediate need of food, water, shelter and clothing as well,” he said.

A dome of lava could be seen on Kadovar, scientists at the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory said, adding that steam clouds were rising to 600m (1,969ft).

Volcanologists say there are no confirmed records of a previous large-scale eruption on Kadovar.

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