Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate an island in Vanuatu where a rumbling volcanic threat is getting close to a blow-up. All 11,000 people have been ordered to evacuate from the island of Ambae as air reconnaissance confirmed that the volcano is too unstable and that people’s lives are in danger.
It was ordered that all 11,000 people leave their homes on the island of Ambae when the ministers and authorities were informed of the imminent danger on the island. There’s smoke coming from the hills and it’s been so for at least 5 days – experts are expecting an escalation to level five – meaning a n eruption – and advise caution and keeping a safe distance.
A military crew from New Zealand flew over the volcano on Tuesday and said huge columns of smoke, ash and volcanic rocks were billowing from the crater. Lilian Garae, who lives on the island, said she could see “smoke coming out from the hills” and hear regular booming noises from the Manaro volcano. She was waiting to hear when she might have to leave her home and where she might be sent.
There are 65 populated islands comprising this small pacific nation about one-quarter of the way from Australia to Hawaii. The activity measure of the volcano has been raised to level four from the weekend, on a scale in which level five represents a major eruption. On Monday officials declared an emergency and had been relocating people close to the volcano to other parts of the island.
Dickinson Tevi, a spokesman for the Vanuatu Red Cross Society, said the relief agency has been shipping water and shelter equipment to Ambae island.
“People are quite afraid with the sound of rumbling going on,” he said. “They are very uncertain and afraid.”
200m vatu ($1.9m) were allocated toward the evacuation effort and was deploying 60 police officers to help people leave and to ensure there was no looting.
“We’ve prepared for cyclones by putting evacuation centers on the island but we are not ready for a volcanic eruption,” Bule said. “The government has to put a policy in place to cater for this in the future.”
Vanuatu is home to about 280,000 people and is prone to natural disasters, with a half-dozen active volcanoes as well as regular cyclones and earthquakes. It sits on the Pacific’s infamous “ring of fire”, the seismic and earthquake central of planet Earth with a thousands of kilometers long line of tectonic plate seams.
For the evacuated citizens the biggest source of stress and anxiety to many is they have been told to leave and they couldn’t take their livestock, which is a key part of what made them survive