28 Nov 2018

Vanuatu govt to assess whether Ambae is safe for return

5:10 pm on 28 November 2018

The Vanuatu government will send a team of assessors to Ambae before permitting evacuees to return to the island.

People being evacuated from Ambae

People being evacuated from Ambae Photo: Nixon Garae Tambeana

About 10,000 people were evacuated from Ambae four months ago due to volcanic activity, and have since been living on neighbouring islands.

The state of emergency was lifted this week but the Manaro volcano remains at alert level two, which means an eruption is still possible.

RNZ Pacific correspondent Godwin Ligo said the government assessors would look at the state of crops and livestock, and whether there had been any further damage from volcanic eruptions.

"They will report back to the Council of Ministers. This is to enable the Council of Ministers to make a decision on people to be able to return to their homeland - to see for themselves, to check on their cattle, their livestock, their crops, their garden, their cocoa plantations, and even their businesses and that sort of thing," Mr Ligo said.

The government continues to encourage displaced Ambaeans to build second homes on neighbouring islands in case they have to evacuate their island again, he said.

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