Vanuatu volcano eruption sparks Ambae island evacuation

11,000 residents of Ambae have been told to leave and will be
moved to other islands in the Pacific state.
The Manaro Voui volcano, which has been rumbling for days, began
spewing ash in a “moderate eruption” over the weekend.
Officials had moved 6,000 residents to shelters elsewhere on Ambae
earlier this week, but have now ordered a full-scale evacuation.
All islanders are expected to have been moved off Ambae by next
Friday, in what emergency officials said would be a first for the
country.
Authorities had raised their alert to the second highest level on
Saturday, meaning Manaro Voui was in a “moderate eruption state”.
They warned of “flying rocks and volcanic gas”, acid rain, and ash falls.
The volcano has been seen emitting clouds of smoke with signs of hot
lava emerging to the surface in its crater in recent days.
Shadrack Welegtabit, director of the national disaster management
agency, told AFP news agency: “We have already moved people out of
the high ground to safe areas in the west and the east [of the island].”
He said the likelihood was that the volcano would trigger the highest
level warning with a full eruption, “[so] we have to get people off the
island”.
Most people will likely be relocated to the neighbouring island of
Pentecost, reported Radio New Zealand.
Manaro Voui last erupted in 2005, prompting 5,000 people to flee their
homes.
The volcano – like Bali’s Agung, which is showing signs of imminent
eruption – sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire.
The geologically active area experiences earthquakes regularly, and
has hundreds of active volcanoes.

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