The island of Ambae in Vanuatu and an area of Bali in Indonesia have been evacuated in preparation for two active volcanoes that are expected to erupt at any moment. Thousands of people have been relocated as Manaro volcano on Ambae and Mount Agung on Bali are threatening to erupt.
According to CNN, 144,000 people have been taken to shelters in Bali, while Ambae’s entire population of 11,000 people is being removed from the island entirely.
Seismic activity has been registered in both volcanoes, and an aerial survey on Wednesday found “huge columns of smoke, ash and volcanic rocks billowing from the crater of an erupting volcano” on Ambae. Both Mount Agung and Manaro volcano are currently at level 4 on the volcano alert scale, the highest level on the Indonesian volcano alert scale and the second highest level on Vanuatu’s scale. A level 4 means the volcanoes could erupt within 24 hours.
While the evacuation of 144,000 people in Bali has affected only the northeastern part of the island in a 7.5-mile area around Mount Agung, the Ngurah Rai International Airport remains open, but is on alert. Four hundred forty-seven temporary shelters have been set up outside the exclusion zone, where some residents have been living for six days.
The 11,000 residents of Vanuatu’s Ambae island have been leaving on boats and via airlifts to evacuation centers on Vanuatu’s Pentecost and Maewo islands.
While the islands are thousands of miles apart, both volcanoes sit on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Despite the expected eruption of both, Benjamin Andrews of the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program told CNN that it is pure coincidence that they are showing signs of eruption at the same time.
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