SUVA, May 11 (Xinhua) -- The Vanuatu government said on Friday that people of the volcanic Ambae Island can voluntarily be evacuated to the nearby island of Maewo in order to prevent themselves from being hurt by ash fall from the erupting Manaro Voui crater.
According to Radio New Zealand (RNZ) on Friday, the Vanuatu government has changed its earlier decision to compulsorily evacuate the 11,000 people of the Ambae island and the relocation will voluntarily start from June 1 until July 30 this year.
The Vanuatu government said that the islanders will be provided with funding to assist with the evacuation and given food for up to six months, after which they were expected to be able to harvest vegetables grown on the new land.
The evacuees will live on rented land on Maewo Island, and the provincial headquarters are to be moved from Ambae to either the Pentecost island or the Maewo island. The construction of new government facilities and an expansion of services on Maewo would be undertaken.
The Vanuatu government said that people of the Ambae island were free to move themselves to other islands but they would not be assisted to do so by the government.
The Manaro Voui crater on Mount Lombenben which began erupting in September last year, prompting a short term evacuation, intensified in recent months, forcing the Vanuatu government to announce a state of emergency.
The last significant eruption on the Ambae island happened in 2005.
Vanuatu lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.