16 Feb 2006

Volcano victims returning home in Ambae

2:36 pm on 16 February 2006

The five thousand people forced from their homes in Vanuatu when Mt Manaro on Ambae Island erupted are now returning after Department of Geology and Mines officials reduced the threat.

The department downgraded the threat of further activity from level 2 to level 1, almost three months after the mountain first erupted in November.

The vulcanologists say heavy rain has caused the northern cone to collapse into its crater creating more steam, but this is likely to die down eventually.

Meanwhile provincial government leaders in the island are say there is huge tourism potential on Ambae with visitors able to see a volcano in the making.