Vanuatu has launched a Dunkirk-style evacuation on the northern island of Ambae as a flotilla of boats rescues islanders from an erupting volcano. The eruption has polluted many of the island’s water sources leaving thousands of people in need of safe drinking water, Red Cross delegate Joe Cropp told Reuters by phone on Sunday. “Water is crucial,” he said. “It’s important to get on top of it right away.”

The Manaro Voui volcano, the nation’s largest, was seen hurling steam and rocks into the air by New Zealand vulcanologist Brad Scott who flew over the volcano on Saturday. “Maybe about every 8 to 10 seconds there was an explosion, throwing lava bombs up maybe 50 to 100 meters above the crater and there’s also two small lava flows that are flowing across the island into the lake as well,” he said in an interview with Radio NZ published on Sunday. READ MORE