15 May 2006

Vanuatu volcano eruption yet to be measured, but nearby islands feel ashfall

1:54 pm on 15 May 2006

Vanuatu's National Disaster office says a volcanic eruption on Lopevi in Malampa province has caused heavy ashfall on nearby islands.

The office's director Job Esau says they're yet to grade the magnitude of the eruption because scientists are still to arrive to analyse the volcano.

Mr Esau says that without a monitoring station on the island they've been relying on on-site observations.

He says the nearby islands of Ambrym and Paama have been feeling the effects of the eruption.

"There has been impact on the crop damage, vegetation, the vegetables are all gone, and also the water resources are being contaminated especially with open water catchments. The ashfall is quite heavy but the measurement is still yet to be verified by the Technical and Vulcanology team that will be arriving on those two particular islands this week."

Job Esau of Vanuatu's National Disaster Office