Natural disasters

Papua New Guinea sits along a volatile seismic strip called the “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis are possible. Seismic and volcanic activity is more likely to occur near Rabaul in East New Britain Province, Kimbe in West New Britain Province, and on Manam Island in Madang Province.


A 7.5 magnitude earthquake occurred in February 2018, causing significant damage to the Highlands. There has been widespread disruption to services and a decrease in law and order in the affected area.

There is a constant danger from earthquakes, which can be followed by tsunami warnings.

To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, see the website of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.


The volcano on Manam Island, off the north coast of Papua New Guinea, erupted on 25 August 2018 forcing thousands to flee to the mainland. A threat warning was issued to aviation to reroute around the ash cloud. The Natural Disaster’s Office are assessing the current condition and the potential for further eruption and whether anymore evacuations are required.

Kadovar Island volcano erupted in January 2018, leading to an evacuation of the island.

Tropical Cyclones

The tropical cyclone season normally runs from November to May. Monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

See our tropical cyclones page for advice about what to do if you are caught up in a storm.


Flooding and landslides can occur, especially in rural areas. Coastal areas experience monthly King Tides, which may cause localised flooding. Local communities are fairly well adapted to cope.