Manaro volcano in Vanuatu prompts full evacuation of island | News | DW | 27.07.2018
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Manaro volcano in Vanuatu prompts full evacuation of island

As Manaro volcano in Vanuatu continues to spew smoke and ash, the government of the Pacific country launched a compulsory evacuation effort on the island of Ambae. All 11,000 residents have been ordered to leave.

Vanuatu Manaro erupting in September 2017 (Getty Images/AFP/T. Boyer)

The vent of the Manaro volcano is surrounded by a volcanic lake within the island of Ambae

Vanuatu's government imposed a state of emergency and ordered full evacuation of the island of Ambae on Friday, after the Manaro volcano sent out thick clouds of smoke which blocked off the sun and coated the South Pacific island with ash.

The US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released satellite footage of the ash cloud.

The Meteorology and Geo-hazards department of Vanuatu, which boasts around 65 inhabited islands, described Manaro as a "danger to direct safety to life." It also warned residents to stay at least three kilometers (1.9 miles) away from the vent.

"The local population from Ambae and from neighboring islands will continue to hear rumbling, volcanic explosions (and) smell volcanic gases," experts said.

Earlier this week, the volcano set off a 12 kilometer (7.5-mile) column of smoke into the air.

Read more: Why Vanuatu faces more risk of natural hazards than any other country in the world

The latest evacuation order marks the third time government has asked residents of Ambae to leave since the volcano first started rumbling in September last year. In recent months, the authorities of the impoverished country have been aiding residents to permanently relocate. Hundreds have already moved to neighboring islands of Maewo, Pentecost and Espiritu Santo.

Vanuatu has a population of about 270,000 and is located some 2,000 kilometers (1.240 miles) east of Australia. France, New Zealand, and Australia have all provided aid and financial assistance for previous evacuations.

dj/rc (AFP, AP, dpa)


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