22 May 2006

Vanuatu volcano eruption declining

2:53 pm on 22 May 2006

Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office says activity at the Lopevi Volcano remains at Level 2.

A spokesperson for the Office, Maurice Harrison, says the eruption has been declining since the middle of last week and the ashfall has stopped.

The Lopevi volcano began erupting on May 1 and had caused heavy ashfall for nearby islands of Paama and Ambrym, with reports of contaminated water and damaged food crops.

Mr Harrison says the Office hasn't yet dispatched fresh water supplies to affected villages, and is waiting on further reports from police on the ground.

"We're getting reports from local pilots flying over Lopevi - daily reports, so it's been working quite well. We are taking precautionary measure, take it very slowly and see the activity until it really cools down and then we'll just lower the level."

Maurice Harrison says reports of an eruption on Tanna last week related to a minor landslide on the volcanic crater, but nothing major.