Ambae volcano activity now stable: VMGD

The Ambae volcano activity has now become stable after months of producing heavy ash fall, gas and flows threatening livelihoods.

Lombenben volcano seems to be in a more stable state lately with the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) lowering its alert status from level 3 to 2.

Observations last month confirmed that the eruptive activity which occurred from March until April has dropped, VMGD conveyed.

“There is no explosion and volcanic cloud emitted are white color, means only steam. A small scale eruption in Lake Voui has ceased.

“The possibility of the volcano activity escalating to the level of minor eruption is moderate to low”, said VMGD.

At level 2 which is the major unrest stage, there is considerable possibility of eruption and also chance of flank eruption.

Current activity consist of ongoing emission of steam and/or volcanic gases which villagers and visitors can smell while approaching the volcano.

Lombenben volcano has caused significant impact to the people of Ambae just after being repatriated from Santo.

The crisis led to another state of emergency since last year’s eruption and relocation of families within and off-island.

According to VMGD, the presence of ash fallen on Ambae during the last eruption will continue to change the behavior of streams and creeks when it rains.

“The creeks and streams can produce floods and carry a lot more debris (sands, gravel and boulders).

“The flow path of streams and creeks could change due to flood debris. Landslide may occur at some areas during heavy rainfall”, VMGD has advised.

Villagers and visitors are warned not to access the danger zone which is now about 2km radius from the eruptive vent and areas located in the yellow zone (see shaded area in photo). Gases are expected in this area.

Villages in this zone may continue to expect change in streams and creeks flows during rainfall.

They may also experience impacts of volcanic gases , especially those exposed to prevailing trade winds.

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