Manam, known locally as Manam Motu, is an island located in the Bismarck Sea across the Stephan Strait from Yawar on the northeast coast of mainland Papua New Guinea. The island is 10 kilometers wide, and was created by the activity of the Manam Volcano, one of the country’s most active. It was inhabited until 2004, but it is now abandoned and its residents resettled elsewhere in Papua New Guinea. Prior to the most recent activity, the island was reached by boat from the mainland from nearby Bogia.
Manam is a basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano, and despite remarkably symmetrical lower flanks has four distinct valleys, locally known as "avalanche valleys" due to their ability to focus avalanches and particularly pyroclastic flows generated at the summit. These valleys represent the highest-risk areas during eruptions, and, when the island was inhabited, were typically the first areas to be evacuated during heightened activity. The earliest documented eruption of Manam was in 1616.
In November 2004, a major eruption forced the emergency evacuation of over 9,000 inhabitants of the island. The eruption began October 24 but was not seen as a major threat until the wind changed pushing ash and debris towards inhabited areas. Five people died during the eruption. On December 11, the threat was downgraded due to a reduction in activity. There remain significant problems at Bogia on the mainland where the evacuees are currently residing in resettlement camps at Mangem, Asarumba and Potsdam.