Friday, August 29, 2014

SOCIAL MEDIA EXPLODES AS TAVURVUR SPEWS

The ultimate thrill of  a journalist is to be  where the action is and to be the first to get the story and pictures.  I'd like to congratulate  Poreni Umau,  who was one of the first to supply pictures of the Tavurvur eruption to an eagerly waiting  PNG audience.  Poreni's updates demonstrated the thrill of being in the right place at the right time.

Tavurvur (Picture from Poreni Umau)
It is now  15 hours since the first  images of   the Tavurvur  volcanic eruption  appeared on social networks.
             Unlike  the  1994 eruption, the flow of information  from this emergency has been  relatively unprecedented. 
             Papua New Guineans all over the country and the world were able to get  near real time updates  as the  spectacular  event unfolded from  4am this morning.
 Some of the initial pictures  were  captured by  Kokopo based freelance  journalist, Poreni Umau,  who was  at the scene    hours after the eruption.
            In a matter of hours they  become some of the most shared pictures of facebook.   He provided  up to the minute reports that  showed  the hour by hour state of Rabaul town and surrounding areas.
             As conventional  media lagged behind, Papua New Guineans turned to social media – particularly facebook -  to   get up to the minute updates from Rabaul.
 Rabaul  residents were woken as early as 4am this morning to loud explosions from the volcano.     Businesses have been forced to close because of ash fall.
            More than 200 police officers from Kokopo and Tomaringa have been deployed   to Rabaul.
 Speaking to EMTV this afternoon, Provincial police commander,  Tony Wagambie  Jr. said  Rabaul has been sealed off but residents have not yet left their homes.
              No eviction order has yet been given and  while this is an emergency, there is no sense of panic amongst residents.  But the concerns  remain that if there is a major eruption, we could see a repeat of the 1994 eruption that buried  the town of Rabaul.


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