13 Jun 2005

Vanuatu authorities decline to evacuate Ambrym islanders after volcanic flow

1:56 pm on 13 June 2005

Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office says it is not carrying out any evacuations from the island of Ambrym despite reports of ongoing volcanic activity there.

However, the Office says it has advised people not to travel to Ambrym following recent eruptions.

It says ash flow from the eruptions has devastated the environment, while reports indicate people there are exposed to contaminated water and noxious fumes.

But a spokesman for the Office, Donald Manses, says most Ambrym locals remain there despite the exposure to acid rain.

"We're not doing any evacuations at the moment. Not until any other ash fall. But most of the villages or the communities don't want to leave the properties, the island where they have been raised."

Meanwhile, Donald Manses says the Disaster Management Office is no longer warning against travel to nearby Ambae, but suggests visitors should consult the Saratamata provincial administration before venturing there.