Vila Times

Ambae evacuation to be completed today

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According to the report from National Disaster Management Office, all 11,000 residents of Ambae should be evacuated from the island by the end of the day.

5750 people have been evacuated to Luganville, while another 1900 have been moved to Pentecost and 1800 – to Maewo.

“The evacuation of Ambae is expected to be completed over the coming days and our focus is on helping the government of Vanuatu meet the immediate needs of those who have been affected,” said Gerry Brownlee, New Zealand Foreign Minister.

“There’s a certain calmness about the evacuation, but there’s a deep sadness behind it. They don’t know what’s ahead,” Red Cross spokesman Joe Cropp told Reuters agency.

Ash from the volcano has polluted the water in Ambae, so the Red Cross has scrambled to distribute drinking water.

“When you fly in, you can see the volcano. When you land you can’t see it or hear it. But you can smell the ash in the air,” Cropp said.