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Vanuatu: Yasur Volcano - Oct 2021

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The Yasur Volcano on the island of Tanna, some 200 km south of the capital Port Vila, began an increased level of eruption on 22 October. The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department confirms that the volcanic activity remains in the “major unrest” level (level 2) as of 1 November. The most likely cause of the recent eruption is that heavy rainfall caused a landslide which fell into the crater. The volcano has emitted substantial plumes of volcanic gases and ash, and a danger zone of one kilometer around the volcanic cone has been established. Nearby villages are struggling with the ashfall that is destroying food gardens and is contaminating water sources. The number of affected people is estimated at 1,622 and initial assessments are currently being carried out humanitarian partners. (OCHA, 1 Nov 2021)

Since October 2021, no further official updates have been reported from the Vanuatu authorities, but the needs of families affected by ashfall remained. Reports from the Provincial Disaster Office indicated that people had no access to clean water due to the acid rain and ashfall contaminating most of the water sources, which corroborates with similar experiences in the past. Based on early assessments, VRCS initially planned to support 807 households/3,383 people with WASH, health and shelter and settlements interventions. This number has changed to 755 households/3,586 people following detailed assessments. (IFRC, 18 Nov 2021)