Vanuatu volcano alert | Pacific Beat

Vanuatu volcano alert

Vanuatu volcano alert

Updated 15 February 2012, 13:52 AEDT

Communities on the Vanuatu island of Gaua are worried about the volcano in its centre.

For the past fortnight Gaua volcano has shown signs of increased seismic activity, generating sulphurous gas and ash into the atmosphere and affecting water supplies. The volcano's alert level has now been set at one, nowhere near the highest, that's level five, but still a worry for the two thousand people who call the remote island home.

Presenter: Pacific Correspondent Campbell Cooney

Speaker: Gaua Island community headmen, Charles Bice

BICE: Ash fall from the volcano and also the smelling of sulphur and other gasses that was really no good smell and also their water was also affected and also some of the cabbages which they always eat, one of the cabbages which we call island cabbage. Every time since last Sunday, before they want to cook their island cabbage they have to wash it because of the ashes. The situation especially the confirmation from one of the pilots from Air Vanuatu flying past, he said he heard an explosion. On Sunday, they had the first explosion down on the village on the west coast. They heard an explosion. So Monday morning, some of the young men went up to the top of the lake and they saw that there was a big change, there was a lot of smoke and then the dry leaves and also they told Father ki every 45 minutes they would hear an eruption, like an a loud noise.

COONEY: There is no plans or anything that you are going to have to leave or anything like that?

BICE: Well, for me in 1973, I was away in Vila, but my other families were living on Ambae. My father and one of my brothers was on Gaua when there was evacuation in 1973. They spent two months in Sola which is the provincial headquarter. For two months they were there, they thought a big eruption would happen it never happened.

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