WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The Pacific nation of Vanuatu is preparing to permanently evacuate the entire population of one of its islands as thick ash spewing from a volcano kills crops, dirties water supplies and fouls the air.
The 10,000 or so people who remain on Ambae island have mixed feelings about the plans. Some who are badly affected by the ash are eager to leave while others are resisting losing their land and culture.
The island was temporarily evacuated last September when the eruption cycle began. This time, authorities are planning a permanent move.
Government spokesman Hilaire Bule told The Associated Press on Thursday that he expects the Council of Ministers to approve a relocation plan by next week. Bule says islanders will be offered residence on two neighboring islands.