Island on Vanuatu evacuated as volcano prepares to erupt. Officials on the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu have ordered the mass evacuation of one of their islands owing to the potentially imminent eruption of a, particularly volatile volcano.
The evacuation from Vanuatu follows a mass exodus from the Indonesian region of Bali following signs that the infamous Mount Agung could be about to erupt. Officials from Vanuatu met last week to declare an emergency because of the intense volcanic activity surrounding Manaro volcano which is rated as a level four meaning that an eruption could happen in the very near future. According to the agency monitoring the activity of the volcano, there have been more than eight hundred earthquakes in the past couple of weeks, and a thin smoke pillar has been observed rising from the volcanic crater by the New Zealand military.
Manaro erupted in 1963 and caused mass casualties on the island with more than 1,100 people losing their lives. Following the initial eruption, the volcano remained sporadically active for around a year afterward.
The eleven thousand people who share an island with this formidable volcano have been expressing deep concern about the rumblings coming from the volcano recently, according to Dickinson Tevi, a spokesperson for the Vanuatu Red Cross Society. The residents of the island have been relocated to another island temporarily and the government has allocated 200 million vatus to the relief effort and has deployed policemen to ensure that there will be no looting during the process.
The Vanuatu Red Cross Society has also been preparing extensively for the intake of refugees from the island, and it is hoped that the move will go smoothly. In nearby Indonesia, authorities are grappling with a similar, albeit larger, situation.
According to the Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency, more than 96,000 people have fled the region surrounding Mount Agung in the northeast region of Bali as signs of an imminent eruption are brewing.
The refugees have been relocated to more than four different locations across Indonesia including temporary camps, sports’ centers, and other public buildings. Local volunteer groups have taken up the bulk of the relief efforts and taking responsibility for the continuity of children’s education. “So far the children look happy and are enjoying themselves, “said volunteer Yenni Ariyanti.
“They do not look worried or sad. Hopefully, we can continue to maintain their excitement and keep them in good spirits.” Bali is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia which means that the government has also had to deal with the evacuation of tourists from the region.
The Ministry of Transport has prepared one hundred buses to evacuate stranded tourists from the island if the international airport is forced to close during an eruption event. The authorities in Indonesia are very experienced in dealing with volcanic incidents.
Mount Agung is one of more than one hundred and twenty active volcanoes in the country. Over the past few years, the authorities have been forced to deal with the volatile Mount Sinabung which has been erupted at random intervals since 2010 which has forced the evacuation of more than 30,000 people from the local area.