Ambae volcano evacuees scared as shelters run out

Ambae volcano evacuees scared as shelters run out

There is growing fear among evacuees on the Vanuatu island of Ambae with shelter starting to run out as thousands more flee the erupting Manaro Voui volcano.
Around half of the island's population of 10,000 have already been evacuated from the danger zone around the volcano.
But residents say ash fall was affecting more communities and people are being scared by the booming of the volcanic eruptions which they say are louder than they have heard before.
The chairman of Ambae's disaster committee, Manuel Maru, said they are in desperate need of temporary shelters as two to three thousand more people are expected to arrive at evacuation centres set up on the western and eastern sides of the island.
He said some people have already left the island and others are considering doing the same.
"People of the nearby islands who are located here have already moved. Like Pentecost Island and Maewo," he said.
"And people are freely agree if it increase to alert (level 5) then everybody has a plan in place and everybody, most people agreed to move to the other islands."
He appealed to people of Penama Province living in the capital and Port Vila and nearby Santo to help feed their relatives
The Vanuatu government has allocated about $US2 million towards the evacuation.
But Manuel Maru said there was also a lot of confusion on the island as they haven't received any official confirmation that a state of emergency had been declared as reported in local media nor of the US$2 million in funding reportedly approved to help with evacuations.
Businesses in both Port Vila and Luganville are donating emergency supplies including food and water to send to those evacuated.
Over recent weeks, a cinder cone filled with a pool of lava has risen out of the crater lake on the Manaro voui volcano.
It's feared if the cone is breached the mixture of water and lava could cause a powerful explosion.
Evacuation of stock
The director of Vanuatu's Livestock Department, Lonny Bong, has ordered all animals from the Penama Provincial Small Livestock Breeding Centre to be evacuated to nearby Maewo Island until the eruption threat on Ambae has eased.
The small animals include goats, pigs, ducks and chickens.
Meanwhile it was not clear at this stage what guarantee there was for properties and animals to be kept safe from vandals in the absence of their owners.
Our correspondent said the government was yet to indicate whether additional police would be sent to the villages to ensure property was safe.

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