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Evacuations in Vanuatu as Gaua activity increases 26 November 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, eruptions, Gaua, Pacific, Vanuatu.
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Gaua volcano in northern Vanuatu is reported to have erupted early today. At the moment there is no official news from Vanuatu itself, but regional news sources (see below) are reporting that gas emissions and ash fall have increased during the past two days and that 300 residents of the eastern half of Gaua island are being evacuated by the Vanuatu Government and the Red Cross to the west of the island.

Efline Garaebiti, head of the Vanuatu Government disaster monitoring team, is reported by Australian news sources as saying that it is ‘unlikely’ that Gaua volcano ‘will erupt completely’, which suggests that this is an increase in the ongoing emissions of gas and ash rather than a full-scale eruption. Strong winds in recent days may also have increased the effects of the emissions on the local population.

The Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory website has no report as yet on the current situation, and the alert level for Gaua remains at level 2, ‘minor eruption’.

For all our coverage of Gaua: Gaua « The Volcanism Blog.

Vanuatu volcano forces hundreds to evacuate – Australia Network News, 26 November 2009
Pacific volcano erupts, leading to evacuation of hundredsNew Straits Times, 26 November 2009
Volcano erupts in Vanuatu: Red CrossSydney Morning Herald, 26 November 2009
300 evacuated from villages in Vanuatu due to gas and ash from volcano – Radio New Zealand International, 26 November 2009

Global Volcanism Program: Gaua – summary information for Gaua (0507-02=)
Vanuatu volcanoes and volcanics – information from the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory

The Volcanism Blog