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Vanuatu island residents evacuated amid volcano threat

Vanuatu officials have all but completed the evacuation of an island where a belching volcano has been threatening to erupt.

More than 11,000 residents of Ambae island have been moved to nearby islands in the Pacific archipelago, national disaster management office director Shadrack Welegtabit said.

Only a handful of residents who have refused to leave remain, but police officers "are working on that", he said.

Mr Welegtabit added that those remaining will be removed by force if necessary.

Scientists said the Manaro volcano has stabilised from a more explosive state last week.

But they are still categorising the activity as Level 4 on a scale in which Level 5 represents a major eruption.

Officials are likely to wait until the volcano's activity level is downgraded before allowing people to return.

AP

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