Sydney, June 21, 2018 (AFP) - A powerful 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit Vanuatu Friday, US seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of damage and no tsunami warning issued. The quake struck at a depth of 21 kilometres (13 miles) some 30 kilometres west of the Pacific nation's capital Port Vila, the US Geological Survey said.
USGS said there was low likelihood of casualties and damage although it added that recent earthquakes in the area had caused secondary hazards such as landslides. "Definitely shaking would have been felt in the area, but we have received no reports yet of any damage," Geoscience Australia duty seismologist Hugh Glanville told AFP. "Earthquakes are quite common in the area although being so close to Port Vila is more unusual. There will be a few aftershocks in the days and weeks ahead."
People in the region live in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking, USGS said, although some resistant buildings exist. Vanuatu, with a population of about 280,000 spread over 65 inhabited islands, is regarded as one of the world's most disaster-prone countries. It sits on the so-called "Pacific Rim of Fire," making it vulnerable to strong earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, while powerful cyclones also regularly lash the islands.
Date: Mon, 21 May 2018 09:08:39 +0200
Port Vila, Vanuatu, May 21, 2018 (AFP) - Entire communities living under the shadow of a smouldering volcano on an island in Vanuatu will be permanently relocated to another island from next week, the Pacific nation's government has decided. Most villagers on the northern island of Ambae had only recently returned home. The 11,000 people on the island were forced to leave last September when the Manaro volcano erupted. The latest evacuation is not compulsory but the government said it wants those who left to stay away for good and resettle elsewhere. The Council of Ministers has approved four permanent settlements on the nearby island of Maewo, which it will lease from landowners.
The government will organise and pay for the evacuation beginning June 1 and finishing July 30. However only those who choose to relocate to Maewo will receive the assistance and people who move to other islands will do so at their own expense. "Food support will be provided to the displaced population of Ambae on Maewo for a maximum of six months before withdrawing its support," a government statement said. "(By then) food crops which have been planted on day one of evacuation (will be) ready for harvest. On Maewo, chief Jonah Toaganase told the Daily Post newspaper that his community was ready to look after more than 3,000 people until the four permanent settlements are established and gardens planted. About 1,000 have already moved to the main island of Espiritu Santo and the capital Port Vila.
However, Ambae is unlikely to be abandoned completely -- just the areas which suffered the heaviest ashfall, with homes blanketed and crops choked. "Most of the ashfall is affecting communities in the south and west, so they are the ones most likely to relocate," an Ambae community organiser in Port Vila, Henry Vira, told AFP. Vanuatu's Red Cross has pre-positioned some aid on Maewo and a New Zealand Air Force Hercules brought in more supplies last week. China and Australia have also donated funds to help the evacuation. Vanuatu, with a population of about 280,000 spread over 65 inhabited islands, is regarded as one of the world's most disaster-prone countries. It sits on the so-called "Pacific Rim of Fire", making it vulnerable to strong earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, while powerful cyclones also regularly lash the islands.
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2018 06:28:47 +0200
Wellington, New Zealand, April 13, 2018 (AFP) - Villagers on the Vanuatu island of Ambae were facing their second evacuation in seven months Friday after a volcano rumbled back to life and rained ash on their homes. Authorities in the Pacific nation have declared a state of emergency on the northern island, where 11,000 people were forced to leave last September. Many have only just returned home but the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department said the Manaro Voui volcano was undergoing a level three eruption, the mid-point in a five-level scale.
National disaster ministry director general Jesse Benjamin said any evacuation would be more orderly than the one carried out in September, when a flotilla of small vessels were pressed into service to rush people off the island. "Last year's evacuation was conducted in haste, amidst fears of a major eruption," he told the Daily Post newspaper. "There is some dissatisfaction about the way we moved people at the time. This time we will be evacuating people from the severely affected communities first, before the less affected. "The government is worried about the safety of the people."
Vanuatu, which has a population of about 280,000 spread over 65 inhabited islands, is regarded as one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. It sits on the so-called "Pacific Rim of Fire" making it vulnerable to strong earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, while powerful cyclones also regularly lash the islands.
22nd March 2018
- Vanuatu. 17 Mar 2018.There have been 246 suspected dengue cases reported by the Ministry of Health from [12 Feb to 12 Mar 2018], and a total of 44 were tested positive, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Health (MoH) on the dengue outbreak. "Out of the 44 confirmed cases, 5 were hospitalized at the Northern Provincial Hospital (NPH) in Luganville, Santo, while 241 cases are being managed at home," the statement from the MoH says. It says 244 of the suspected cases were reported from NPH while 2 cases were reported from Vila Central Hospital in Port Vila.
Sydney, Oct 5, 2017 (AFP) - The evacuation of more than 11,000 people from a Vanuatu island threatened by a volcano was completed Thursday, authorities said, as aid began arriving to help the displaced. Everyone on Ambae, in the north of the Pacific archipelago, was ordered to leave after the Manaro Voui volcano rumbled to life and rained rock and ash on villages last week. Fearing a major eruption, officials mobilised a rag-tag armada of civilian vessels to ferry residents to safety on other islands, with at least 18 evacuation centres set up in schools, churches and on sports grounds. "The evacuation of the residents of Ambae Island -- approximately 11,600 people -- is now complete," said Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
An Australian navy vessel with emergency specialists and food supplies arrived in Vanuatu on Thursday, joining two Hercules aircraft, one from Australia and the other from New Zealand, in the relief effort. France also sent a planeload of aid and relief personnel from its nearby territory of New Caledonia. "Tents for temporary shelter, kitchen supplies and lighting will provide relief to families and improve community safety," said Bishop, adding that access to clean water was also being provided. Vanuatu's official Geohazards Observatory said on Tuesday the threat had eased, although it continued to maintain the volcano's status as level four on Thursday, the second-highest rating. Aid workers have said locals can only return to Ambae when the government downgrades the threat to level three, which could take months.