SUVA, July 31 (Xinhua) -- All primary schools on Vanuatu's volcanic island of Ambae have been closed for all the students to evacuate with their parents to Maewo, an island in Vanuatu's Penama province and the new home for Ambaeans, Vanuatu's Daily Post reported on Tuesday.
The responsibility to make arrangements and fit the affected students and their teachers into host schools on Maewo lies on Vanuatu's Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), while the Ministry of Climate Change and Natural Disasters (MOCC) is mandated to sort out transportation.
The Penama Emergency Operation Center (PEOC) has been re-activated and is set to roll out the mandatory evacuation once it is gazetted. Members of the Vanuatu Police Force are expected to be deployed to Ambae soon to assist with the emergency operation.
While warning the residents on Ambae to depart their homes immediately because the whole island of Ambae is in danger, the Vanuatu government will secure transportation for residents to Maewo where they will settle with host communities and will continue to care for them until they recover.
This will be the second time in less than a year for these children to evacuate from their volcanic island due to volcanic activity. The first time was on September last year when the volcano almost reached its highest alert level.
Earlier this year, secondary school students on Ambae were evacuated to schools on neighboring islands of Maewo and Santo as the volcanic activity intensified and started belching ash. Some schools on Ambae such as St Patrick's College and Torgil Rural Training Center (RTC) have been used as evacuation centers to accommodate affected families since a major ash fall in March this year.
Heavy ash fall reportedly continues to fall, leading to poor visibility in some areas. For the first time recently, ash from Lombenben volcano was received with small stones mainly in south Ambae.
The Red Cross in the South Pacific Island nation has distributed survival kits to 1,000 people on volcanic Ambae.
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.