31 Aug 2017

Danger zones around Vanuatu volcanoes could be increased

7:27 pm on 31 August 2017

Authorities in Vanuatu say they could increase the danger zone around volcanoes on Ambrym if drastic change in their activity continues.

The danger zones around the Ambrym Volcano on the 30th of August 2017.

The danger zones around the Ambrym Volcano on the 30th of August 2017. Photo: Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department

Yesterday the alert level for the Ambrym volcanoes was increased from two to three for the first time since they last erupted in the 1940s and 50s.

No-go-zones have been declared for two and three kilometres around the active craters of Benbow and Marum respectively.

The manager of the Vanuatu geohazards department Eslin Bule said it was important that local communities and visitors adhered to the warnings to avoid being struck by volcanic projectiles or being exposed to volcanic gas, ash and other potential hazards.

"There is a chance to have a minor eruption from this activity, the situation that we are seeing now. Because since the beginning of the month it didn't stop to gradually increase. So to which point it will stop we don't know. It might build up until there is an eruption before it comes down again," said Ms Bule.

She said the Ambrym volcanoes had a history of flank eruptions, that is eruptions from the side of the cone, which made them particularly dangerous and unpredictable.