27 Nov 2009

Tourists warned off Vanuatu's Gaua volcano

4:19 pm on 27 November 2009

Tourists on Gaua in northern Vanuatu are being told to keep their distance from the island's erupting volcano.

More than 350 people are being evacuated from the west to the east side of the island as increasing volumes of ash and gas have caused health problems and affected the water supply.

Mt Garet, one of the island's tourist attractions has been erupting since September.

David Wesaror, a tourist operator on Gaua, says that's caused a drop in visitor numbers and income.

He says the movements of those tourists currently on the island are restricted

"We will not allow the tourists to climb up the mountain, not to go closer to Mt Garet. We have to let them go down to the landing about eight kilometres out."

David Wesaror says the island's airport is not affected by the eruptions.

He says four boat loads carrying about 10 people each were evacuated yesterday, and four more are being evacuated today.