Local chiefs have criticised the Vanuatu’s government decision to send an assessment team to Ambae to determine if it’s safe for people to return there after multiple eruptions over the past 18 months.

Ambaean chiefs have criticised the move saying it should have been done before their people started returning to the island when a state of emergency was lifted on November 26.

According to the Daily Post Newspaper over 700 Ambeans have already returned to the island, mostly to the northern and eastern parts.

The chiefs insist that sending the assessment team to now defeats the purpose of the exercise since scores of the inhabitants of Ambae have already returned from nearby Maewo.

Others on Maewo are reportedly waiting for the government to send transportation to get them back to Ambae.

An alert for the Manaro volcano remains at level two on the five stage scale, which means an eruption is still possible.

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