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The Daily Volcano Quote: why no warnings? 13 September 2010

Posted by admin in daily volcano quote, Lamington, Papua New Guinea.

Public criticism of the Administration for failure to evacuate the Higaturu area before Sunday’s disaster [the Mount Lamington eruption of 21 January 1951] is growing in Port Moresby. Residents claim that the Administration had ample time to take action as the first explosion was on Thursday … Natives in the area have been uneasy for six weeks. During that time they have heard Mount Lamington rumbling and they have also felt slight earth tremors. Many village natives are believed to have “gone bush” during that time. Europeans also heard rumblings, but they believed these came from much farther away and so they stood fast. The mission natives, who are in closer touch with the white residents, also stood fast. Even after the first explosion on Thursday the residents were semi-officially told that there was no danger.

‘Delay in official warning criticised’, Sydney Morning Herald, 25 January 1951. Source: NLA Australian Newspapers.

Mount Lamington, in south-eastern Papua New Guinea, was not recognized as a volcano until its explosive eruption on 21 January 1951, following six days of precursory activity, which left 250 square kilometres of the surrounding landscape wholly or partly devastated and killed around 3000 people. The  activity continued until 1956.

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