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Vanuatu orders full evacuation of Ambae island as volcano threatens to erupt

Vanuatu orders full evacuation of Ambae island as volcano threatens to erupt”

The government of Vanuatu is trying to evacuate all residents on the island of Ambae as a volcanic eruption appears imminent.

Volcanoes on the Vanuatu islands of Ambrym and Lopevi are also active, Radio New Zealand reported.

It will reach Vanuatu in the middle of the week and join a fleet of ships including ferries and commercial vessels that have begun moving 11,000 people to nearby islands.

The volcano, known as Manaro, began to erupt last week.

Defence Minister Marise Payne said HMAS Choules left Australia on Saturday morning with specialists, supplies and landing craft aboard. Initially, islanders moved to shelters on Ambae but the government then ordered a mandatory island-wide evacuation.

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One of the lakes is directly above the eruption, increasing its explosive potential and posing the threat of a deadly lahar: a boiling mud flow down the side of the mountain, Firth said.

"Water is crucial", he said.

"Vanuatu is part of a group of Pacific islands that is prone to natural disasters - whether it is earthquakes, cyclones (or) volcanic activity", Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Sunday.

Vanuatu, a sprawling cluster of more than 80 islands and 260,000 people, is on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and its Tana island active volcano is a major tourist attraction.



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