Asia-Pacific

Vanuatu reimposes state of emergency amid volcanic ash

Vanuatu has ordered compulsory evacuations over the volcano eruptions. Source: Stefan Armbruster

The alert level for the Manaro volcano has been raised to level three after eruptions.

Vanuatu has reimposed a state of emergency and ordered compulsory evacuations as thick volcanic eruptions blanket the island.

The threat level of Manaro volcano on Ambae Island was raised from two to three on Saturday by the country’s Meteorological and Geo-Hazards Department.

Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu on Friday tweeted: "On the eve of the 38th anniversary of independence, cabinet has reimposed the state of emergency and ordered the compulsory evacuation of the entire population of Ambae."

Numerous villagers have already been evacuated, with Vanuatu’s Red Cross reporting several villages have become uninhabitable.

The NGO is providing humanitarian assistance.

Volcanic ash has blanketed the island.
Volcanic ash has blanketed the island.
Stefan Armbruster

Ambae island
John Joemeteo

“We tried to travel to the south today but we have to turn back, because trees are falling, visibility is very very poor, we cannot see far more than two metres,” said Vanuatu Red Cross Disaster Management Coordinator Augustin Garae on social media.

“Mass evacuation happening now in the south of Ambae, as the situation is worsening,” the Vanuatu Red Cross posted, adding communications infrastructure was failing. 

“Two evacuation centre’s are now hosting 95 households with a total of 372 population. Yesterday 107 people in the south have fled their homes to Santo (Island) on MV Princes Mary.” 

The alert level for the Manaro volcano has been raised to level three after eruptions.
The alert level for the Manaro volcano has been raised to level three after eruptions.
Stefan Armbruster

Ambae erupting on July 25, 2018.
Ambae erupting on July 25, 2018.
NASA Aqua/MODIS

The Manaro Voui volcano on Vanuatu's Ambae island in 2017.
The Manaro Voui volcano on Vanuatu's Ambae island in 2017.
AFP
The Meteorological and Geo-Hazards department said: “Scientific analyses confirm that the current activity is similar to the volcanic activity of March 2018 with more and sustained emissions of volcanic ashes.

“The Danger Zone for life safety is now limited at a three-kilometre radius from the active vent.”

In May the Vanuatu government announced plans to permanently evacuate Ambae’s approximate 10,000 inhabitants to other islands.

 

 

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