Portal:Oceania/Selected article/August, 2008

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Ambae island, Vanuatu, image acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission

Aoba, also known as Ambae, is an island in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. Ambae has a population of less than 10,000, divided into 3-4 discernible language groups. The island has no considerable towns, and there are three airstrips with service by Vanair, at Walaha(W), Redcliff(S), and Longana(E).

Ambae is physically characterized by the large volcano at its center, Manaro; indeed, the island is little more than the peak of a volcanic mountain rising dramatically from the sea. This volcano has no visible vents at its apex, only crater lakes. It is, nevertheless, active: a steam and ash eruption in 2005 displaced around half of the island's inhabitants.

The local economy is largely non-monetary, with cash crop income (from copra, cacao, and dried kava) being used primarily for school fees and sundry items like soap, salt, kerosine, etc. Most regular employment is in the public sector, as teachers. Remittances from employed relatives in the towns of Luganville or Port Vila also contribute cash to the local economy.

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