Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has expressed solidarity and concern for the Government and people of Vanuatu following the Manaro volcano eruption on the island of Ambae, and assured them of her efforts to rally whatever support may be needed to respond to the emergency.
There are currently no reports of injury or loss of life; however 6000 people have been evacuated from the island that sits on what is known as the Pacific ‘ring of fire’, in which earthquakes and volcanoes are common.
The Vanuatu government has declared a state of emergency on the island, and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth urged other member countries to assist Vanuatu with its efforts to provide relief and shelter to the people affected.
The Secretary-General is also asking law ministers from across the Commonwealth, who assemble in The Bahamas next month for their triennial meeting, to discuss how the Commonwealth can create a task force to coordinate a rapid reaction response to natural disasters.
The current eruption is classed as ‘moderate’; however, disaster management officials on the island fear a major eruption, and are considering wider evacuations. The Manaro volcano has been active since 2005, but a recent increase in activity had raised fears that a major eruption could be imminent.