Australia provides $US1.5m for resettling Ambae people

Canberra said its assistance will help pay for evacuating the 10,000-strong population on commercial vessels.

The money will also be used to support the government and charities provide shelter, water, health and education to the evacuees and host communities on neighbouring Maewo.

The government said it was also providing further expertise to bolster the Vanuatu government's efforts to resettle people from Ambae.



Ambae residents ordered to evacuate - Vanuatu govt

A government minister, Ralph Regenvanu, said the decision was made by cabinet this morning.

The volcano at the island's centre, which has been erupting in fits and bursts since September, has increased its activity in recent days.

On Thursday, reports from the island indicated that ash fall was so severe the sun was blocked.

Hundreds of Ambaeans have already opted to leave voluntarily, most of them to Vanuatu's large, north island of Espiritu Santo.

Volcanic ash turns day into night on Vanuatu's Ambae

Eyewitnesses said in the worst affected areas ash fall darkened the sky so much yesterday that vehicles picking villagers up around midday had to use their headlights.

Even the safe zones on East Ambae were no longer safe and victims were being relocated to Lolowai which is on the north eastern side of Ambae, they said.

The National Disaster Management Office told the Daily Post newspaper that the MV Tauraken was expected to transport people mainly from south Ambae to the nearby island of Maewo today.

Vanuatu NDMO predicts low evacuation numbers from Ambae

Operations Manager of the NDMO Peter Korisa said about 1000 people of the island's 10,000 inhabitants had already left of their own accord.

He said the island's volcano had been erupting since last September but increased its activity in April with ash fall ruining crops and volcanic gases contributing to acid rain contaminating water supplies.

He said the volcano was unpredictable and the government is advising people to take up the government's help to leave if they are not coping but he predicted most were likely to stay.

Vanuatu to permanently evacuate volcanic island

Most villagers on the northern island of Ambae had only recently returned home. The 11,000 people on the island were forced to leave last September when the Manaro volcano erupted.

The latest evacuation is not compulsory but the government said it wants those who left to stay away for good and resettle elsewhere.

The Council of Ministers has approved 4 permanent settlements on the nearby island of Maewo, which it will lease from landowners.

The government will organize and pay for the evacuation beginning June 1 and finishing July 30.

Mixed feelings on Ambae as permanent evacuation considered

Heavy ashfall from the volcano last month covered parts of the island collapsing buildings, contaminating water supplies and killing off food crops.

Thousands of people have been relocated to safer parts on the island but the Vanuatu Council of Ministers is considering permanently evacuating Ambae.

New Zealand volcanologist, Brad Scott has been supporting the Vanuatu Geohazards Department to monitor the eruption.

Mr Scott was on Ambae last week and said there were mixed reactions to the proposed evacuation.

Multiple land offers for Ambae's volcano evacuees

The Manaro Voui crater on Mount Lombenben which began erupting in September last year, prompting a short term evacuation, intensified last month, forcing the government to announce a state of emergency.

The minister, Andrew Napuat, said Ambae's population of about 11,000 people were being encouraged to leave the island voluntarily.

A request for land for the islanders had prompted a good response from neighbouring islands, like Santo, Maewo and Pentecost, Mr Napuat said.

Ambae evacuation could cost millions

Ambae's Manoro Voui volcano on Mt Lombenbe erupted in September last year prompting the island's evacuation.

Volcanic activity re-intensified several weeks ago and preparations are underway for another evacuation.

Director General of Disaster Management Jesse Benjamin said a second evacuation, which could cost $US1.8 m, would be an orderly and structured process, unlike last year.

The Daily Post reported the government might seek the assistance of donor countries, like Australia and New Zealand, to help with transport.

Frustration and hunger mount as eruption continues on Vanuatu’s Ambae

The layer of ash in William Bice's village is some 20 to 30 centimetres thick. It's smothered plant life, it's weight has collapsed some roofs, and the stream that supplies their water has turned into a thick ash-laden sludge.

"It looks like a desert," he said.

Father Bice, a local Anglican priest, said the village in the north of Ambae lived off the crops it grew, which are now dead, and its only income came from a small stash of kava, which has also been smothered.

Police deployed to Vanuatu's Ambae ahead of mass evacuation

A state of emergency has been declared on the island, with the volcano at the island's centre continuing to erupt, blanketing much of the island in ash.

The government announced last week that a mass evacuation would again take place, with people from the islands north, west and south being moved to the far east coast or nearby smaller islands.

A spokesperson for the National Disaster Management Office, Presley Tari, said food supplies are being distributed by the provincial government, and the patrol boat is leaving Port Vila today.