500 people have already evacuated from the Vanuatu island of Ambae

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Toxic gas and burning ash have been pouring out of Manaro Voui since September as the volcano terrorises residents.

The volcano, also known as Lombenben and Aoba, is nearly directly in the center of Ambae, an oblong island whose population is grouped primarily along the coast, particularly in the northeast. He said about 7,000 people were making the 100-kilometre (60-mile) ocean trip to the island of Espiritu Santo, another 3,000 were being transferred to Pentecost island and about 1,000 to Maewo island. She said officials had told her she needed to be prepared to leave for two or three weeks.

Vanuatu called for worldwide help through the FRANZ partnership, which groups France, Australia and New Zealand, and aims to evacuate the island by October 6.

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"We're going to have to mobilize a lot of civilian marine craft in order to accommodate that large number of people in such a short period of time", journalist Dan McGarry said.

He said ferries and commercial ships were helping move people from the island and most should have left by Monday. Santo resident Andrew Ala said locals have taken the initiative to look after people who have been fleeing the volcano. "We give them some food and then. the disaster committee takes them to the evacuation centres".

Loren Urinmal, president of the nearby Malampa province, where about 2000 evacuees are being hosted, said some community members have even been asking to adopt families and give them land to live on.

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Vanuatu has launched a Dunkirk-style evacuation on the northern island of Ambae as a flotilla of boats rescues islanders from an erupting volcano that has polluted numerous island's sources of drinking water.

"Their main fear is they won't be able to return home", he said.

Most of Ambae's population is leaving by boat, but the sick, the elderly and people with disabilities are being flown out on chartered flights.

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While an orderly evacuation was still a priority for those remaining, attention was now turning to the strained resources at the islands to which people were being relocated, Cropp said.

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