Vanuatu marks people's evacuation from volcanic Ambae island

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-01 11:45:49|Editor: Yamei
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SUVA, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- The people of Ambae, Vanuatu marked on Monday the "Ambae Exodus" to remember the first evacuation from their island after the eruption of the Manaro volcano in September last year.

According to Vanuatu's Daily Post on Monday, Ambae people returned to the island several months later, only to be forced off again this year as the effects of the continuing eruption worsened and that is why it is uninhabited now.

Chief Wesley Wgwango told the Daily Post newspaper that to turn their backs on Ambae was the most painful thing to do and his people were pleading for future generations to remember and honour the day they left their island home.

Ambae islanders remember October 1 as the day they were forced to sail away through mass evacuation for security reasons, leaving their island totally empty of human life for the first time, except the graves of their loved ones, their villages, their properties and their animals.

The evacuation of people from Vanuatu's volcanic Ambae Island to the islands of Maewo and Santo was completed after the Vanuatu government asked the Ambae people to have a compulsory evacuation by August this year.

The decision by the Vanuatu government to compulsorily evacuate the 11,000 people of Ambae to the evacuation site on the island of Maewo was made following continuous escalation of the Manaro volcano activity on Ambae.

The explosions and spewing of volcanic ash including the associated risks of lava flow and other related volcanic hazards based on the observation and monitoring of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazard Department (VMGD) showed it was too risky for the people of Ambae to continue to live on their island.

The Vanuatu Mobile Force (VMF) members were deployed to get people off the island after an evacuation was ordered following a state of emergency which ended on Sept. 26.

The Vanuatu government through its clusters have been working to ensure food, water and hygiene kits and tarpaulins reach the people.

Evacuees have been seeking temporary shelter with communities as they wait to move into permanent relocation sites.

The Vanuatu government has assured that it will continue to care for the villages until they recover.

The last significant eruption on Ambae island happened in 2005.