Nearly 11,000 people are being evacuated from Vanuatu’s Ambae Island, days after a volcano in the South Pacific nation began spewing rock and poisonous gas.
On September 23, the threat level of the Manaro Voui volcano was raised to moderate by the Vanuatu Meterology & Geo-Hazards Department.
Now the government of Vanuatu has called for the entire population of Ambae to be moved to evacuation centers on the nearby islands of Maewo, Pentecost and Santo.
Council of Ministers has decided to begin compulsary evacuation of entire population of Ambae Island
— Ralph Regenvanu (@RRegenvanu) September 27, 2017
It’s feared that lava flows and toxic gas released by the volcano could cause untold damage to the island and claim lives unless local villages are cleared.
A member of the Vanuatu national parliament, Ralph Regenvanu, tweeted on Thursday that the order to ferry people from the island came from the Council of Ministers.
According to the Vanuatu Red Cross, a deadline for the evacuation has been set for October 6.
Meanwhile, Australia has answered an SOS call from Vanuatu, a nation made up of approximately 80 islands.
Some US$190,000 (AUS $242,000) in aid will be provided to Vanuatu in its time of need, the Australian government confirmed.
“Australia has responded to a request for assistance from the Vanuatu government to help deliver much needed supplies to affected communities,” Australia’s High Commissioner, Jenny Da Rin said.