Vanuatu orders evacuation of island as volcano threatens to erupt

Updated on Sep 28, 2017 01:03 PM IST

Officials last weekend raised the activity measure of the Manaro volcano to Level 4 and on Monday declared an emergency.

A cloud of smoke from Manaro Voui volcano is seen on Vanuatu's northern island Ambae in the South Pacific, on September 25, 2017.(Thomas Boyer via Reuters)
A cloud of smoke from Manaro Voui volcano is seen on Vanuatu's northern island Ambae in the South Pacific, on September 25, 2017.(Thomas Boyer via Reuters)
The Associated Press, Wellington | ByThe Associated Press

Vanuatu officials have ordered the complete evacuation of an island where a rumbling, belching volcano is threatening to blow.

Government spokesman Hilaire Bule says ministers met Thursday and decided they couldn’t risk people’s lives and so ordered the compulsory evacuation of Ambae island, which is home to about 11,000 people.

Officials last weekend raised the activity measure of the Manaro volcano to Level 4 and on Monday declared an emergency. At first, they relocated people close to the volcano to other parts of the island.

Bule says the evacuation will continue through Oct. 6 and residents will be moved onto nearby islands. Officials are setting up two sites on Pentecost Island, he says, where evacuees will be housed in government buildings or in temporary camp sites.

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