Vanua Lava

Vanua Lava

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Vanua Lava

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Vanua Lava is the second largest of the Banks Islands in Torba Province, Vanuatu, after slightly larger Gaua. It is located about 120 km north-northeast of Espiritu Santo and north of Gaua. It has a land area of 314 km². Its population numbered 2,623 in 2009.2623 = sum of Vanua Lava + Kwakea figures in 2009 census:

The island measures about 25 km north-to-south and 20 km east-to-west. The island has two natural harbors, Port Patteson in the east and Vureas Bay (Vurës) in the southwest. The island includes Mount Suretamate (also spelled Sure Ama, Sürétimiat, 921 m), an active volcano. The last major eruption was 1965. The highest altitude on the island is 946 m. To the east of the island are the islets of Kwakea and Ravenga. On the west side is Waterfall Bay.

The capital of Torba province, Sola, is located on the east side of the island, on Port Patteson. There is an airport there (IATA code SLH), to which Air Vanuatu flies three times a week. There is one road on the island but few vehicles.

Vanua Lava was first explored by New Zealand Bishop George Augustus Selwyn in 1859. The sulfur deposits of Mt. Suretamate were formerly worked by a French company. Copra is the chief export.

There are four languages spoken on Vanua Lava: Vurës with about 2000 speakers, Vera'a with 500; and two dying languages, Mwesen with 10 speakers, and Lemerig with only 2 speakers living. All of these...
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