Showing posts with label Bougainville (North Solomons). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bougainville (North Solomons). Show all posts

Papua New Guinea Volcano: Mt Bagana Eruption (Bougainville)

In a catastrophic turn of events recently, Papua New Guinea's autonomous region of Bougainville has been thrust into turmoil as Mount Bagana, a formidable anti-city volcano, erupted with explosive force. 

The eruption, characterised by towering ash plumes and pyroclastic flows, thought to have affected thousands of lives, reshaping the landscape and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

Mt Bagana Eruption 2023

Unforeseen Displacement and Environmental Catastrophe

As reported by the ABC News Australia, the impact of the eruption has been staggering, with over 8,000 residents from around ten villages at the base of Mount Bagana being displaced from their homes. 

The grim reality is that this number has nearly doubled from initial estimates, reflecting the unprecedented scale of the disaster. 

As the eruption continued, pyroclastic flows - searing-hot mixtures of ash, gas, and volcanic rock - surged down the slopes of the volcano, devouring everything in their path. 

One of the most pressing concerns arising from this catastrophe is the contamination of water sources and the destruction of crops. The livelihoods of the local population, deeply intertwined with the land, have been shattered. 

The once-thriving agricultural areas have been transformed into desolate landscapes, with ash-covered fields serving as grim reminders of the forces of nature at play.

Read about the latest events on Mt Ulawun's Activities, click here

Anatomy of Bagana Volcano: Unraveling the Explosive Fury

Bagana Volcano, a towering sentinel on Bougainville Island, is a striking example of an anti-city volcano, characterised by its dome-capped cone structure. 

The cone, made primarily of andesite - a silica-rich volcanic rock - plays a critical role in modulating the volcano's activity. Unlike more fluid lava seen in some eruptions, Bagana's lava is crumbly and viscous, akin to a polymer, which hampers its flow.

The distinctive pinkish-white colour of the dome hints at its felsic composition, rich in silica. This composition makes the lava exceptionally sticky, impeding its movement and often leading to a build-up of pressure beneath the dome. Eventually, this pressure reaches a breaking point, triggering explosive eruptions that propel ash and volcanic debris high into the atmosphere.

The eruption's fury is further manifested in the lava's behavior. Channels, akin to streets, form down the slopes of the volcano as the molten rock makes its descent. 

The flow, while destructive, is eerily reminiscent of similar patterns observed in other volcanic regions, such as Indonesia and Iran.

Tectonic Dance of Fire: A Geological Context

Bagana's explosive temperament finds its roots in the tumultuous geological dynamics of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The region, an arc of seismic and volcanic activity encircling the Pacific Ocean, is notorious for its frequent eruptions and earthquakes. 

Bougainville Island's placement atop a subduction zone - where the Indo-Australian Plate descends beneath the Pacific Plate - provides a volatile setting for volcanic activity.

The underwater subduction process fuels the creation of volcanic islands, contributing to the unique topography of the region. Bagana's location, perched on the edge of this volatile tectonic ballet, renders it vulnerable to sudden and dramatic eruptions.

Bagana's Papua New Guinea Volcano Eruption

As Bougainville grapples with the aftermath of Bagana's explosive eruption, the focus shifts towards recovery and resilience. Efforts to provide aid, restore water sources, and support affected communities will be crucial in rebuilding shattered lives. 

The disaster serves as a somber reminder of the unpredictable power of nature, prompting calls for enhanced monitoring systems to detect early signs of volcanic activity.

The eruption of Bagana Volcano stands as a testament to the delicate equilibrium between the Earth's inner forces and the lives of those dwelling on its surface. It serves as a poignant reminder of the need for preparedness, community support, and scientific advancement to navigate the intricate dance of geology and human existence. 

As Bougainvillians a resilient people ans will rebuild their lives with the unwavering spirit of a community determined to rise from the ashes of catastrophic eruption.

Papua New Guinea War: The Bougainville Crisis, Referendum and Independence

The Bougainville Crisis, also known as the Bougainville Conflict or Bougainville Rebellion, was a complex and protracted armed conflict that took place on the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea (PNG). 

It lasted from 1988 to 1998, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives and significant social and economic disruptions. The conflict was characterized by a struggle for autonomy and independence by Bougainvilleans, who sought greater control over their land and resources, particularly the Panguna copper mine, which was a major source of revenue for PNG.

Historical Background

Bougainville, an island province in Papua New Guinea, has a history of cultural distinctiveness from the rest of PNG. Bougainvilleans have their own languages, customs, and traditions that set them apart from the mainland. 

In the 1960s, mining activities, particularly the establishment of the Panguna copper mine by a foreign company, sparked tensions between Bougainvilleans and the PNG government. 

The mine brought environmental degradation, social disruption, and land disputes, leading to grievances among Bougainvilleans.

Papua New Guinea War

The Crisis Unfolds

In 1988, a violent conflict erupted on Bougainville, sparked by a dispute over royalties and the environmental damage caused by the Panguna mine. 

The conflict escalated into a full-scale civil war, with various groups taking up arms against the PNG government forces. 

The Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), led by Francis Ona, fought for Bougainville's independence, while the PNG government responded with a military blockade, imposing a state of emergency and deploying armed forces to quell the rebellion.

Peace Process and Referendum

After a decade of violence, a peace process was initiated in the late 1990s, leading to the signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement in 2001. 

The Agreement provided for a phased autonomy for Bougainville and a commitment to hold a referendum on independence. 

In 2019, the historic Bougainville Referendum was conducted, allowing Bougainvilleans to vote on their political future. 

An overwhelming majority of 98% voted in favour of independence, reflecting the strong desire for self-determination among Bougainvilleans.

Push for Independence

The result of the Bougainville Referendum has reignited the push for independence among Bougainvilleans. 

However, the path to independence is complex and faces challenges, including negotiations with the PNG government on key issues such as the:

  • timing and process of independence,
  • sharing of revenues from natural resources, and
  • establishment of a viable and sustainable government structure in Bougainville.


The Bougainville Crisis has a complex history, rooted in cultural, environmental, and economic grievances. The conflict resulted in significant humanitarian impacts and loss of life. 

The Bougainville Referendum was a significant milestone in the peace process, reflecting the strong desire of Bougainvilleans for independence. 

All in all, many challenges remain on the path to independence, and sustained efforts are needed to ensure a peaceful, inclusive, and sustainable resolution to the Bougainville issue, taking into consideration the aspirations and interests of all stakeholders.

Schools in Papua New Guinea Are Closing - Government Is Not Paying Tuition Fees

On February the thirteenth 2015, after the Minister for Education and NDoE Secretary stopped schools from charging project fees, PNG-Insight highlighted that schools in the country face  closure before the academic years ends.

First reason being that K605 million for free education may not be enough. (see the reasons highlighted here).

Second, PNG government does not have enough money. This problem is made worse by the decline in Oil Price, which the government is relying on when putting together 2015 Budget.

Schools in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville are now facing close - one is reported to have closed. This came after principals from Catholic schools raised concerns about government's not paying full installment of fees for the first and second terms. 

Does it mean PNG government's  Free Education policy has failed? It is too early to conclude that the Tuition Fee Free policy is failing, but there are tell-tale signs indicating failure. 

The important question is not what will Peter O'Neill's government can do, but can his government remit funds to schools on time before second term starts? Can the government pay the second installment for terms three and four in full? Peter O'Neill's government must remain true to it Tuition Fee Free policy. The Government must keep ALL schools in the country running without a pause or a stop.

It is not surprising. The writing was on the wall. Schools in Papua New Guinea are facing closure and some are already closing. This is evident from the report by Aloysius Laukai (in blue) and post by the member for Bulolo Hon. Sam Basil on his Facebook page (can be seen at the bottom) 


By Aloysius Laukai

Five Bougainville boarding schools are on the verge of closing if funds owed to them under the National Government’s Free Education Policy are not released by next week.

This was revealed today by the Principal of Hutjena Secondary School on Buka island, MARTIN TAKALI.

MR TAKALI told New Dawn FM that his schools was supposed to get SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND KINA for the first two terms of this year which was seventy percent of the total allocation to the school.

He said that the remaining THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND for the remaining 3rd and 4th term are normally paid in June.

MR. TAKALI said his school was only paid about THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINA which is FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND KINA short.

He said this balance has to be paid so that the School continues to operate up to June.

MR. TAKALI said that some schools received their SEVENTY PERCENT allocation and is questioning why all schools were not treated the same way.

He said that the KOROMIRA TECHNICAL SCHOOL had already closed because they did not get anything at all for the 2015 academic year.

He has also written to the Bougainville Education Office and the ABG to intervene and assist his school to make sure students are not deprived from their right to education because of late payments.

The Chief Secretary before investigating the schools he should now find ways with his political colleagues to help pay...
Posted by Samuel H. Basil on Wednesday, 8 April 2015



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