Ambae island residents warned of frequent volcanic explosions

Water, food and communication remains the top priority for Amabe Island as more frequent volcanic explosion, gas cloud and ash fall continue to affect the residents.

Vanuatu Red Cross Disaster Risk Reduction coordinator, Agustine Karae says the volcanic cone in Lake Voui has been releasing more explosions and ash fall lately.

“The volcanic alert level remains at level three, but people are affected by the ash fall and their crops and water source is affected by this,” he said.

“The ash fall will continue to affect the people as it depends on the wind direction,” Karae added.

He said the villagers are relying on food assistance from authorities and roots crops that are not affected by the ash fall.

The Health Department is assessing the situation.

“Most schools are closed because we are still dealing with ashfall, food supply and water issues at the moment,” Karae said.

“There has been reports of sickness, people having diarrhea, cough and running nose,” he added.

Karae is urging villagers to take care of their health and maintain good hygienic practices.

Stress and distress is also being addressed with 21 participants from Penama Red Cross receiving psycho social first aid awareness training to deal with such situations.

The training aims to help and support understanding of stress and distress especially in this time of crisis on Ambae.

The participants also have the chance to setup a plan that will help them visit communities around Ambae to support them.

Vanuatu's Geohazards Department says some explosions would appear more energetic to the population on Ambae island.

The department is reminding all tourism agencies, local authorities, residents of Ambae and the general public not to access the danger zone which is about 3 km radius from the eruptive vent.

In the area indicated, flying rocks are expected, volcanic ashes and gases may be more abundant.

The department will continue to closely monitor the volcano activity.

Anishma Prasad
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