All 11,000 residents on Ambea, Vanuatu island are evacuating Sunday as Vanuatu volcano spits lava across the tiny Pacific land mass.
Reuters reports that the volcano began activating in September and now has fully erupted, leaving residents on the island no choice but to evacuate. The Red Cross and other charitable organizations are now compiling resources to aid residents’ access to clean drinking water, as the volcano has contaminated the island’s regular source.
Red Cross delegate Joe Kropp told Reuters water is the group’s main concern.
“Water is crucial,” he said. “It’s important to get on top of it right away.”
The Vanuatu government has targeted Friday as the deadline by which all citizens should be evacuated, with the Manaro Voui volcano erupting fully.
“Maybe about every 8 to 10 seconds there was an explosion, throwing lava bombs up maybe 50 to 100 meters above the crater and there’s also two small lava flows that are flowing across the island into the lake as well,” Kropp said in an interview with Radio NZ published on Sunday.
Islanders are gathering at three separate points on the island to board a flotilla of ships including ferries, canoes and commercial vessels.
Radio New Zealand noted that volcanoes on the Vanuatu islands of Ambrym and Lopevi are also active.
— Oxfam in Vanuatu (@OxfamInVanuatu) September 28, 2017
— Jenny Da Rin (@jennydarin) September 27, 2017
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