Vanuatu evacuates 8000 villagers on Ambae as volcano erupts

Manaro Voui volcano erupting - photo take yesterday. Image: Vanuatu Digest/FB Facebook

By Bob Makin in Port Vila

Vanuatu’s Manaro Voui volcano on Ambae is erupting and 8000 people are being evacuated on the island.

The Penama provincial government council and National Disaster Management Office is currently evacuating residents from the north, south and western parts of Ambae island to the east, and to neighbouring islands.

Ambae Island. Image: Vanuatu Islands Travel

Ambae’s total population is about 11,500.

The NDMO has mobilised several ships to assist with the evacuations.

The Vanuatu Meteorological and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) has raised the warning level to 4, indicating that a moderate eruption is taking place.

VMGD also warns people on Ambae that dangerous flying rocks and volcanic gas are being experienced within 6.5 km of the volcano’s crater; ash falls have been reported across the island.

The department says other hazards include acid rain and pyroclastic mud flows.

Manaro Voui’s last eruption in 2005 resulted in the evacuation of 5000 people.

Ambae, also known as Aoba, is northwest of Pentecost island.

Bob Makin is editor of Vanuatu Digest.

Map taken from VMGD hazard map showing the dangers posed by Manaro Voui to the people of Ambae. Image: Vanuatu Digest
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