SUVA, July 27 (Xinhua) -- The entire population on Vanuatu's volcanic island of Ambae has been asked to evacuate compulsorily following the Vanuatu government's recent reimposing of a state of emergency on the island.
According to Radio New Zealand on Friday, Esline Garaebiti, director of Vanuatu's Meteorological and Geo-Hazards Department, said that its staff were closely monitoring the volcano at the island's center of Manaro, which she said was in its fourth phase of activity since last September.
"We're seeing very significant impacts on the island at the moment," she said, adding that after the latest eruption, there was particularly heavy ashfall in Ambae's southern parts.
"Our technical team on site has estimated about 200 millimeters of ash on some parts," she added.
The Manaro volcano has been erupting in phases since last year. But its activity intensified in the past week, causing ash fall so severe that the sun was blocked. The department raised the threat level to three (the maximum level is five) last weekend.
This time it was different from a previous, voluntary evacuation earlier this year. After two earlier evacuation exercises, Vanuatu's Council of Ministers has decided to implement a two-month evacuation plan which asks more than 11,000 population on the island to evacuate compulsorily.
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.