'There won't be a mass evacuation'

Parts of Vanuatu's volcanic Ambae island are no longer safe but people will not be forced to evacuate, the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) says.

Ash from the Manaro volcano blocked out the sun Wednesday, leading 1000 locals to apply to be moved off the island.

NDMO research and planning officer Zoe Ayong said arrangements were being made to ship people to the nearby island of Maewo.

"The condition is not safe in a few areas of Ambae, especially in the Southern part of Ambae where thick ash fall is recorded and even clarity or visibility is very poor," Ms Ayong said.

"There won't be a mass evacuation. That's the word we want to avoid. There won't be a mass evacuation. People will move but we will ask their concern first, if they will move, yes or no. If they decide to stay back on Ambae, they are free to do so."