Vila Times

New Zealand Defence Force to survey erupting Ambae volcano

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The New Zealand Defence Force will survey Vanuatu’s Ambae Island as a volcanic eruption continues to intensify.

The NZDF has said it will do an aerial survey of the island on Tuesday, to help local authorities determine the risk of a large eruption.

The volcano – Monaro – is one of the most active in the world, and has been rumbling for weeks with escalating signs of activity, reports

The state of emergency continues this morning on the Vanuatu island of Ambae, which is under threat from the island’s Monaro volcano. About half of the population – at least 5,000 peope – are being evacuated. Steve Sherburn is a vulcanologist with GNS Science monitoring the situation.

About half of the island’s population of 10,000 has been evacuated and the volcanic alert level has been raised to 4. Level 4 (out of 5) means the volcano is in a moderate eruption state, with the possibility of a very large eruption and also chance of flank eruption.

The aerial survey had been planned before Ambae’s alert level was increased, and would also include Ambrym and Lopevi volcanoes, Olney said.

“The Orion has sophisticated surveillance capabilities that will allow us to monitor volcanic activity from a safe distance,” he said.

“The imagery taken by the aircraft will help Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office assess recent volcanic activity and their potential impacts.”