19 Mar 2018

Vanuatu's Ambae again blanketed in volcanic ash

5:03 pm on 19 March 2018

A disaster official on Vanuatu's Ambae island says the island is again being blanketed by ash and acid rain, only months after residents returned.

The volcano on Ambae is belching a plume of smoke and ash.

Ambae island Photo: RNZ / Koroi Hawkins

The entire island was evacuated late last year when the volcano at the island's centre erupted, blanketing the island in ash, suffocating crops and contaminating water.

The population returned when the eruption settled down after a month, but last night, the volcano's alert level was raised from level 2 to 3 - what's called a "state of minor eruption".

An officer for the National Disaster Management Office on Ambae, Manson Taridenga, said the islanders were already struggling after returning, then cyclone Hola struck earlier this month, and now this.

"We are facing a lot of ash fall and also a few times we are experiencing acid rain and other debris. The ash fall is heavy and we are struggling to get some assistance."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs