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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 December 2005, 13:36 GMT
Thousands flee Vanuatu volcano
Thousands of people are being evacuated from their homes in the Pacific island chain of Vanuatu amid fears a major volcano is about to erupt.

Mount Manaro, on the island of Ambae, reportedly began spewing out ash and steam on 27 November and is said to be continually shaking.

There are fears that if Manaro did erupt it may also unleash a mud stream from a lake inside its crater.

Vanuatu - a chain of 83 islands - lies just over 2,000km north east of Sydney.

Some 2,000 tons of ash a day are reported to be falling round the base of Mount Manaro.

Five thousand people living in villages at the base of the mountain have been ordered to move to local schools and halls on the coast, according to the Associated Press.

"There have been several eruptions on the island in the past and this [event] at the moment seems to be typical of some of the larger eruptions that we've had," New Zealand vulcanologist Steve Sherburn told AP.

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