The Area Secretary of west Ambrym, Bong Massing, confirmed reports from locals on Ambrym that the lava flow spewed from the volcanic eruption has weakened but the volcano is still giving out gases and ash fall.
Volcanic activity at the most voluminous active volcano in Vanuatu increased last weekend after an earthquake of magnitude 6.6.
So far since Saturday, February 21, the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards has rated the volcanic activity at level 3. Area Secretary Massing confirmed communities at risk are aware and the west Ambrym Disaster Committee have prepared plans for evacuation if the warning alert increases.
The Operation Manager at the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Peter Korisa, told the Australian Broadcasting Television (ABC) the authorities consent are aware of the volcanic activities but there are no immediate evacuation plans for the island. However, they are ready to act if the situation deteriorates, Korisa said. He said that the authorities are not thinking at the moment to relocate people out the island but are working on plans.
The manager said the volcanologists who went to the island said they noticed that the activity is reducing but it will maintain producing more gas emission but the risk of the lava flow is quite moderate to low.
“Although the activity is decreasing we are trying to develop a plan, called “contingency plan” if the situation escalated then we can use the plan to move people.
“In fact we are looking at three scenarios; one of that is moving people within the island and around the island and one is moving people outside to the nearby islands”, the NDMO Manager told ABC.
He told the ABC that the contingency plan is quite huge. Meanwhile, officers at the department have been collecting data, collecting information from villagers around the island about the demographic and possibilities of how they could move people out from the identified high risk areas.
Manager Korisa said the contingency plan will be used for future risks.