Vila Times

Vanuatu Geohazards Dept defends government’s decision to evacuate people from Ambae

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Thousands of Ambae islanders are returning home, after being evacuated last month when Vanuatu’s scientific observers determined the Manaro volcano could be on the verge of a dangerous eruption.

Since then, Manaro has calmed down, and the government is facilitating the repatriation of around 11 thousand people from evacuation centres on neighbouring islands, a process that started at the weekend, Pacific Beat reports.

Behind the decision to return the Ambae Islanders home is the work of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department, who have lowered the volcano’s alert level.

While some have questioned the evacuations from Ambae and whether there was a real risk to the Islands residents, manager Esline Garae Bule said her office is well-equipped to monitor the country’s volcanoes, and the government made the right call.

“Raising the alert level wasn’t something that intended to push the government to evacuate people from Ambae. It is something related to the level of threat to the population. We raised the alert level, and the government made a decision to move the people from the island. Safety of the people is a priority to the government, so they made this decision,” she said.