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Over 6000 People Evacuated in Vanuatu Over Volcano Eruption Alert

27 September 2017

An official from Vanuatu's Penama province said the majority of Ambae's 10,000 inhabitants have already been moved to evacuation centres at schools in the island's north east.

For those displaced villagers, it's now a waiting game to see whether the volcano erupts or returns to normal activity that's not a threat to them.

Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office Director Shadrack Welegtabit confirmed the news that the ship arrived earlier on Wednesday. He said a second ship was due to arrive on Friday.

He said authorities were taking actions in case the eruption intensified and the evacuation was compulsory.

Businesses in both Port Vila and Luganville are donating emergency supplies including food and water to send to those evacuated. Monaro last erupted in 2005, prompting the relocation of about 5000 people across the 400 sq km island.

The department on Saturday raised the alert level from three to four, which represents a "moderate eruption state", and warned of "flying rocks and volcanic gas" affecting villages up to 6.5 kilometres (four miles) from Manaro Voui.

Should the volcano erupt, risky volcanic gas and acid rain could damage the island's crops.

Steam and ash erupt from a vent in Lake Vui on Mount Manaro, on the Vanuatu island of Ambae Monday, Dec 12, 2005, the active volcano continues activity that began November 27, 2005.

Vanuatu is about one-quarter of the way from Australia to Hawaii. It sits on the Pacific's "Ring of Fire", the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes and volcanoes are common.

Over 6000 People Evacuated in Vanuatu Over Volcano Eruption Alert