15 Dec 2005

Funds allocated for displaced Ambae islanders, says Vanuatu PM

10:51 am on 15 December 2005

Vanuatu's Prime Minister Ham Lini says the government has allocated relief funds for Ambae islanders displaced by a volcanic eruption.

Around 3,000 people are now being cared for in 15 relocation centres on the coastal fringe of Ambae Island, as Mt Manaro continues to erupt.

Another 7,000 people remain in their villages while the volcano continues to emit steam with periodic explosions tossing out ash.

Mr Lini says the volcano activity is still only at level two, but the government has sent ships for potential evacuations, as well as food and water.

He says they've already allocated funds for displaced villagers.

"A part of this fund is already in use and part of it is not in place yet. This should be given to the National Disaster Management office - that amounts up to 40 million vatu, and maybe 10 million vatu's going to be given to Penama Province ."

Ham Lini says the government will continue to monitor the situation to see if the eruptions worsen before requesting substantial overseas assistance.