Ambae evacuees wait for permission to return

The state of emergency on Vanuatu's Ambae island has been lifted but it is not clear when displaced residents will be able to return.

About 10,000 Ambaeans were evacuated from the island about four months ago due to volcanic activity and have been living on neighbouring islands, including Santo and Maewo.

RNZ Pacific understands the Vanuatu Council of Ministers will meet today to decide whether to send Ambaeans back to the island.

The government's state of emergency has ended however, the island might not be safe for occupation.

The Manaro volcano on Ambae remains at alert level two, which means an eruption is possible.

The erupting Manaro volcano forced the government to order the evacuation of Ambae in September 2017.

The state of emergency was lifted at the end of October 2017 and residents returned to the island.

In March 2018, the volcano began erupting again prompting a voluntary evacuation which became compulsory at the end of July.