'It's heartbreaking' says Vanuatu official after visiting evacuation centres for thousands fleeing volcano

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A Vanuatu official just back from a trip around evacuation centres for people fleeing the erupting volcano says the scenes are heartbreaking.

A fleet of vessels today continued moving people from Ambae island after Vanuatu officials last week ordered the complete evacuation of the island's 11,000 residents amid fears the volcano might blow in a major eruption.

A Vanuatu provincial planner, Gina Faerua, who took a trip around the evacuation centres yesterday and today, says it is very emotional.

Ms Faerua says it's heartbreaking because you see children, old women and old men, and have to make the decision to move people.

“You are not only moving people, you are moving lives, you are moving families, you are moving everything that's surrounding one person,” she said.

Video shot on Ambae today shows residents waiting at the port, supplies and residents boarding a vessel and residents being helped off a truck.

It's hoped the evacuation will be completed in the next few days. 

Meanwhile, 12 tonnes of aid from New Zealand is on the way to evacuees in Vanuatu, with the Hercules airlifting $250,000 worth of tarpulins, hygiene kits, generators and mother and infant packs.

The aircraft left Auckland's Whenuapai air base this morning.

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