Fears of an imminent volcanic eruption have prompted the Vanuatu Government to order the full-scale evacuation of Ambae island.
Around 8,000 people have already left their homes and headed to evacuation centres in coastal areas.
Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Charlot Salwai announced the compulsory evacuation of the entire island, with the aim to have it completed by Friday next week.
The alert level for the Ambae’s Monaro volcano was raised to four last Saturday, indicating a “moderate” eruption.
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) sent an aircraft over the island earlier this week and said the volcano was the “most active they’ve seen in some time”.
The volcano has been active since 2005, but the recent increase in activity raised fears a much bigger eruption.
About 10,000 people live on Ambae island.