Ambae volcano: Vanuatu Government declares State of Emergency

Ambae's Manaro Voui volcano erupts last weekend. Photo: Supplied

The Vanuatu Government’s Council of Ministers has declared a State of Emergency on Ambae island, allowing public funds to be released for the emergency response to the eruption of Manaro Voui volcano. A new cinder cone and magma lake has formed the volcano, precipitously close to the freshwater lake surrounding it. The presence of water means that any eruption could potentially be more explosive. Evacuations are still proceeding on Ambae, and the Penama Provincial Government says it has now moved all the people in the south of the island to the north. The most pressing need now with the significant number of arrivals is food and water, as Penama Province’s Assistant Secretary General Ure has noted today. Some 36 schools have also been closed on the island. Checks are also proceeding to ensure no one has been missed in the evacuation. The director of the National Disaster Management Office is on Ambae today to assess the settlement of the 5,000 who have so far been relocated. Late this afternoon, the New Zealand Government announced it is sending an RNZAF P-3K2 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft tomorrow to monitor Manaro Voui and the two other currently erupting Vanuatu volcanoes, Benbow and Lopevi.