Volcanoes seem to be exploding at a higher rate right now, and the earth is riddled with earthquakes. Now, the entire island of Ambae is evacuated as the Manaro volcano becomes increasingly active.
The island of Bali in Indonesia is already evacuated under threats of Mount Agung’s imminent eruption. Now the island of Ambae in Vanuatu is also cleared of people, as worries about the Manaro volcano’s (also known as Lombenben) activity becomes a concern.
Both volcanoes sit on the Pacific Ring of Fire
, an area of intense seismic activity that stretches 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) from New Zealand to South America. But Benjamin Andrews, of the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program, says it’s merely a coincidence that they’re both showing signs of erupting at the same time. “The principal concerns here are that the volcano can eject volcanic rocks to distances of many kilometers from the crater and that the volcano could erupt ash and/or emit sulfur dioxide,” said Andrews.
Vanuatu’s Ambae island hasn’t been evacuated on this scale since an alert in 2005, Minister of Land and Natural Resources Ralph Regenvanu told CNN.
Most of the island’s 11,000 residents are being taken away by boat, but some are also being airlifted to evacuation centers on Vanuatu’s Pentecost and Maewo islands. On Wednesday, a New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) aerial survey found “huge columns of smoke, ash and volcanic rocks billowing from the crater of an erupting volcano
” on the island, according to a press release from the agency.
“Ambae volcano is in an ongoing moderate eruption state,” a statement from Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department said.
People in local villages could experience the danger of flying rocks, volcanic gases, and acid rain, the statement added. The alert level is now at a 4, which is the second highest on the scale.
Australia has already responded to a request for assistance, pledging up to 20.5 million Vatu ($ 190,000) in “much-needed supplies like food, water, shelter, and hygiene kits for affected communities on Ambae,” a Vanuatu government statement said Thursday.
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