New Zealand Defence Force set to survey erupting Vanuatu volcano

The New Zealand Defence Force will survey Vanuatu’s Ambae Island as a volcanic eruption continues to intensify.

The NZDF has said it will do an aerial survey of the South Pacific island on Tuesday, to help local authorities determine the risk of a large eruption.

The volcano – Monaro – is one of the most active in the world, and has been rumbling for weeks with escalating signs of activity.

About half of the island’s population of 10,000 has been evacuated and the volcanic alert level has been raised to 4. Level 4 (out of 5) means the volcano is in a moderate eruption state, with the possibility of a very large eruption and also chance of flank eruption.

Group Captain Nick Olney, the Acting Air Component Commander, said a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-K2 Orion aircraft returning from maritime security operations in the Middle East would survey three of Vanuatu’s active volcanoes on its way home.

The aerial survey had been planned before Ambae’s alert level was increased, and would also include Ambrym and Lopevi volcanoes, Olney said.

“The Orion has sophisticated surveillance capabilities that will allow us to monitor volcanic activity from a safe distance,” he said.

“The imagery taken by the aircraft will help Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office assess recent volcanic activity and their potential impacts.”

There were about 100 New Zealanders in Vanuatu, he added.

Source – Stuff

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