Vanuatu island to evacuate again as volcano erupts

Villagers on the Vanuatu island of Ambae were facing their second evacuation in seven months Friday after a volcano rumbled back to life and rained ash on their homes.

Authorities in the Pacific nation have declared a state of emergency on the northern island, where 11,000 people were forced to leave last September. Many have only just returned home but the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department said the Manaro Voui volcano was undergoing a level three eruption, the mid-point in a five-level scale.

National disaster ministry director general Jesse Benjamin said any evacuation would be more orderly than the one carried out in September, when a flotilla of small vessels were pressed into service to rush people off the island. “Last year’s evacuation was conducted in haste, amidst fears of a major eruption,” he told the Daily Post newspaper. read more