14 Jan 2008

Vanuatu call to set up volcano monitoring system

6:16 pm on 14 January 2008

One of Vanuatu's two vulcanologists says it's critical to establish a system that can monitor his country's volcanic activity.

Douglas Charlie has been in New Zealand working with local vulcanologists and Massey University geo-scientists to establish such a system which could also record seismic activity.

Mr Charlie says using a system modelled on New Zealand's, they would install about 20 stations around Vanuatu's volcanic hotspots.

He says the eruption of Vanuatu's Mount Manaro in 2005 highlighted the lack of a system to monitor and anticipate volcanic activity.

"But if we got a system that had been in place, people would have been informed in time about this volcano. Because we are lucky that this eruption (Mt Manaro) was only on the small scale. But if it's the big scale, that will be a very, very catastrophic issue."

Douglas Charlie says he expects the monitoring system to be in place later this year.