Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Evacuation of Ambae Island due to Volcanic Activity

A cloud of smoke from Monaro volcano is seen on Vanuatu's northern island Ambae in the South Pacific, September 25, 2017 in this aerial picture. COURTESY THOMAS BOYER, VOLCANOLOGIST via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

U.S. Embassy Port Moresby advises U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Vanuatu that the government of Vanuatu has declared a state of emergency on the island of Ambae, as the Monaro Volcano remains on Alert Level 4.

Provincial authorities in Ambae undertook evacuations of people in high risk areas to safer areas. Over 7,000 people have moved to evacuation centers in host communities on Ambae away from high risk areas. Evacuation is compulsory and Vanuatu police are assisting the National Disaster Management Office to move residents to safe areas. Schools and other government offices remain closed. Peace Corps has also evacuated volunteers serving on the island of Ambae to Port Vila.

Lopevi volcano on Paama Island (Alert Level 2) and Marum and Benbow volcanoes on Abrym Island (Alert Level 3) are also showing increased levels of activity.  Visitors and residents of the villages of Paama and Epi are urged to consider this seriously and stay away from the volcano to avoid volcanic hazards, as advised by the government of Vanuatu.

It is very important that you seriously consider this information and DO NOT VISIT these areas until activity has decreased to Alert Level 1.

This increase in activity may also affect the local communities’ livestock, food gardens and water. In addition, it may potentially pose some of the following risks to communities close to the volcano:

  • Ash-fall
  • Dark smoke
  • Acid Rain
  • Lava Flow
  • Flying stones
  • Sulphur Gas
  • Mud Flow

We will continue to monitor the updates from the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department and provide updates as necessary.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in our Consular district (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands or Vanuatu) enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov to receive the latest security updates. By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in case of an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate or consular agency.

Stay up-to-date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information and follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook.

You can obtain updated information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby is located on Douglas Street, National Capital District and is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 675-321-1455 or 675-321-0289.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy is 675-7200-9439.