THOUSANDS PREPARE TO FLEE VANUATU VOLCANO
Mass evacuation of Gaua Island planned
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 20, 2010) – Preparations are being made to evacuate nearly 3,000 people from the Vanuatu island of Gaua after further threats from its volcano. [PIR editor’s note: Gaua is among the Banks and Torres Islands in Vanuatu’s far north.] The Gaua volcano in Torba province began erupting seven months ago and there has been renewed activity in recent weeks. Government officials have been discussing the logistics of an evacuation, but no date has been set. A Department of Internal Affairs meeting last Thursday concluded there was no alternative to evacuating the people of Gaua to Sola on Vanualava island. From Sola most would be relocated to Leon Bay for up to a year, on land owned by the Anglican Church of Vanuatu. Others would be dispatched to other islands in Torba. The meeting heard that the evacuation needs to take place as soon as possible because the children on Gaua have been traumatised by the eruption and this may affect their studies. Late last year, about 300 residents on the western side of Gaua, who were suffering from the effects of ash and gas, were relocated to villages on the eastern part of the island. (from www.pireport.org)
Please pray for the people of Gaua, an island in northern Vanuatu. This volcanic eruption has been disturbing everyday life for several months and now the growing intensity of the eruption is forcing the population to be evacuated. This comes at a time when our missionary colleague, Bryan Webb was organizing the construction of a new church building on Gaua.