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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 December 2005, 15:04 GMT
Relief reaches Vanuatu villagers
By Phil Mercer
BBC News, Darwin

Aid supplies are unloaded  on the Vanuatu island of Ambae
The volcano has been emitting steam, ash and sulphur gases
The first shipments of aid have reached thousands of villagers who have been forced to flee their homes by an erupting volcano in Vanuatu.

Mount Manaro has been emitting steam, ash and sulphur gases on the island of Ambae for the past fortnight after awaking from a 10-year slumber.

The volcano-rich Pacific Ocean archipelago lies more than 2,000km north-east of Sydney, Australia.

Explosions inside its crater continue to cause Mount Manaro to tremble.

A major eruption could unleash a tide of ash and lava, although seismologists have said that grim prospect now appears to be unlikely. Up to 5,000 islanders have left their homes just in case.

They are being housed in emergency shelters, and provisions have been made to take them from the island by boat if the worst happens.

Aid has started to arrive from the capital of Vanuatu, Port Vila.

Tribal elders have made a spiritual peace offering to try to placate the god of the volcano.

They believe the actions of people on the island may have angered him.

They are planning to throw a boar's tusk into the crater as a way of saying sorry.

Thousands flee Vanuatu volcano
06 Dec 05 |  Asia-Pacific
People of Vanuatu go to the polls
06 Jul 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Vanuatu
16 Jun 04 |  Country profiles

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