Vanuatu Red Cross Response on Maewo

Port Vila, 06 August 2018 — An whole evacuation operation is underway on the island of Ambae, since August 3rd 2018, where families have to leave their home to seek a second home on the neighbouring island Maewo, designated by the Government, while others chose to settle on the island of Santo.

Vanuatu Red Cross Society will soon deploy its teams of staffs and Volunteers to Maewo, to assist the displaced families from Ambae by  building additional shelters .

“The VRCS proposed plan puts emphasis on Shelter, and our emergency response plan is to build additional shelters by using tarpaulins that were already distributed to beneficiaries; also  we will be doing awareness on shelter  ” said Augustin Garae – Disaster Management Coordinator at Vanuatu Red Cross.

VRCS works alongside with partners like Shelter Cluster and National Disaster Management Office to provide assistance to Ambaean families who fled their home to seek a safer place on the island of Maewo.

Around 30 Red Cross Volunteers from Sanma, Ambae and Maewo branches will be soon deploy on Maewo.

“Next week, a team will be on Maewo to do 2 days assessments on resettlements proposed sites, visit host families, before we can deploy our volunteers on the ground. Our plan is to  build shelters at the Hosts communities, which means, it can be a sleeping room, a kitchen, or storage room, or a shelter for meeting or rest place for the family” said Mr Garae.

On the ground, VRCS will liaise with Community Disaster Climate Change Committee-CDCCC, area council’s secretaries, Provincial Government authorities and Communities.

“ Families, vehicles are now leaving Ambae, but Red Cross Vehicle is still on Ambae, assisting Police, to transport people with special needs from  their homes to the port of embarkation”

Around 10,112 people were on the island after returning from mass evacuation on September 2017 to Santo

.On 26 July the Government of Vanuatu announced an extended state of emergency and the compulsory evacuation of the population of Ambae.

It is a tough and uncertain time for the people of Ambae, dealing with the both the eruption and the evacuation. In the face of these events and not knowing when they will be able to return to their homes they have shown immense strength and resilience, and support for each other. Leaving your home – which is your land, your food source, your livelihood and your place of history, culture and community are incredibly difficult.

Vanuatu Red Cross Response to Ambae Ashfall disaster

Vanuatu Red Cross response to Ambae asfall disaster.

Port Vila, 01 August 2018 — Manaro Voui, the active volcano which forms the island of Ambae in Vanuatu has been erupting since September 2017, killing crops, polluting the air and water, and forcing people to flee their homes.

Approximately 10,000 people call the island home, most have fled to a safe spot in the south and some have already relocated to nearby islands.

Recent eruptions have worsened; food crops and water sources are now severely contaminated. The recent heavy ash fall occurred on the third week of July prompted villagers on the South of Ambae to flee their home and seek evacuation centers on the East.

Population from Ambae and neighbouring island can hear rumbling, volcanic explosions from volcano, smelt volcanic gases, see ashes and gas plume and glows over the mountain.

Around 10,112 people were on the island after returning from mass evacuation on September 2017 to Santo.

Vanuatu Red Cross teams were on the ground a week before the heavy ash fall get worsened for its  distribution response operation plan, targeting 1000 household on the West, East, North and South.

Volunteers have been working to keep evacuated communities safe and healthy through awareness activities that focus on water, hygiene promotion and epidemic control.

They have also distributed relief items to 1000 (approx. 5,000 people) households including tarpaulins, shelter toolkits, sleeping mats, blankets, kitchen sets, solar lights, mosquito nets, and hygiene kits.

On 26 July the Government of Vanuatu announced an extended state of emergency and the compulsory evacuation of the population of Ambae.

Evacuations will be by boat to the neighboring island of Maewo, these will be carried out by the government beginning on the 3 August.

Due to the nature of the disaster on the South and South East, Vanuatu Red Cross had to call off its response plan and assist the Provincial government, by providing human resources and a lorry to evacuate people in most vulnerable communities on the South of Ambae.

Red Cross Response team did new registrations on evacuation centers, assesses affected communities, provided psycho-social support, and distributed pre-paid phone credit cards help families separated during this disaster to stay connected.

According to Disaster Management Coordinator Augustin Garae, there are 2 wards on the South, Redcliff that accommodates 49 households and Lologaro with 8 households, were not been able to be reached due to the poor access and visibility on the ground, air and sea.

It is a tough and uncertain time for the people of Ambae, dealing with the both the eruption and the evacuation. In the face of these events and not knowing when they will be able to return to their homes they have shown immense strength and resilience, and support for each other. Leaving your home – which is your land, your food source, your livelihood and your place of history, culture and community are incredibly difficult.

IFRC as the Shelter Cluster co-lead with the Vanuatu Government is supporting emergency shelter coordination at the provincial and national level and will continue to assist with shelter needs for affected communities.

For more information

In Port Vila, Vanuatu: Olivia Finau, Vanuatu Red Cross Communication and Dissemination Officer

dissemination@redcrossvanuatu.com

+678 731991

Resilience Project underway

Port Vila, 11 July 2018 — Coastal cities face a high risk from hazards caused by natural disaster, and costly flooding from heavy rain and sea level rise amid climate change. Their current defences will not be enough as the water level rises.

In a project funded by USAID, the Vanuatu Red Cross has identified five communities in Luganville that are particularly vulnerable to the risks associated with shocks and stresses such as climate change and hazards caused by natural disaster.

The coastal cities resilience project is in collaboration with the Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC), the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and the American Red Cross. A pilot project is being carried out in Luganville and focuses on building the resilience of coastal communities that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change and prone to natural disaster.

The communities of Solwe, St Michel, Mango, Pepsi and Chapui in Luganville were identified in a citywide assessment as particularly vulnerable to damage by shocks such as cyclone, flood and landslide. With tropical storms expected to become stronger with time, the issue is becoming increasingly urgent. Rising sea levels will also pose a problem as some of these communities are built close to the sea and other waterways.

The aim of the project is to create effective city coalitions on community resilience, targeting climate smart resilience and coastal risk reduction in particular. Some of the outcomes of the project will be improved drainage solutions to help during times of heavy rain, and new structures built away from the coast and areas prone to landslide.

An accompanying communication campaign utilising SMS, radio and community noticeboards will also be rolled out across Luganville with advice about how to prepare for climate change and times of disaster, and good hygiene practices. The public can keep up to date with the project by joining the Facebook group Luganville Community Resilience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

France - "Action Humanitaire" in Santo schools

French Government Contribution to Ambae humanitarian Response Plan.

Port Vila, 13 July  2018 —The French Government, has contributed to Ambae humanitarian Response plan, by funding and  delivering  50 cartons and bags of Non Food Items (NFI) to  Bombua High School and Londua  academic school  in Santo .

This contribution has been implemented through French Red Cross based in Port Vila to support Vanuatu government to manage natural disaster aftermaths.

Londua  is one of the school on Ambae that is being relocated to Bombua High School at Banban Area  on Santo, with over 90 students and staffs.

Since the arrival of Londua students and staffs at the site, it prompted Bombua school administration to create plans and developments to cater for the needs of the school.

It’s been one month since Londua relocation, students and staffs are facing difficulties on having a flow supply of water in the compound – a challenge that Vanuatu Red Cross delegation picked up during its recent visits in Santo.

Thanks to French Red Cross, a partner to VRCS, that agreed to offer its assistance to these schools  by fixing the water supply Solar system,  in addition, with Non Food items such as 10 tarpaulins, 10 sleeping mats, 10 kitchen sets, 10 Jerry cans, and 10 boxes of Hygiene Kits, all valued at over 500,000 vatu.

The donations and assistance given by French Red Cross, with the support of Vanuatu Red Cross to the schools were witnessed by a visit from the French Government delegation from New Caledonia, led by the Minster of Education Helene Yekawe, accompanied by Louis Arssac – Charge de cooperation et action culturelles from French Embassy in Vanuatu. The French delegation was surprised to see the Bombua School building conditions, as well as tents used for accommodations, classrooms, temporary ablutions, for staffs and students.

This stopover of an hour at Bombua School  have triggered special attention of  the French Government Delegation from New Caledonia, of which could be  included in future  “Operation Castor” under the Development aid program for Vanuatu.

 

 

French Government contribution to Ambae Humanitarian Response Plan

The French Government, has contributed to Ambae humanitarian Response plan, by funding and   delivering 3 tons of Non Food Items (NFI) to the Vanuatu Red Cross Society through the French Red Cross operating in Vanuatu and the logistic means of the Army Forces in New Caledonia..

This contribution has been implemented within the FRANZ (France, Australia, and New-Zealand) framework agreements, which aim to support Vanuatu government to manage natural disaster aftermaths.

Last month, the Vanuatu Government through National Disaster Management Office –NDMO has sent a request for assistance to the FRANZ unites and the Vanuatu Red Cross Society, as a leading humanitarian actor in Vanuatu, and which is also working closely with its partners such as French Red Cross.

The French Red Cross is in country since 2006, with around twenty projects implemented so far in the fields of WASH and Disaster Management, including emergency responses to 2015 TC PAM and Ambae Volcano eruption in October 2017.

On Saturday 12 May 2018, a CASA plane from the French Air Force landed at the Port Vila International Airport with international supply from French Red Cross warehouse in New Caledonia, funded by the French Government as participation to Ambae disaster response, amounting 10 million VUV.

The French Government contribution is to address the needs for 150 displaced families or around 750 people through the provision of Non-food items and emergency shelter assistance. In addition, up to 100 hosting families may be supported as well to facilitate the integration of the evacuees to their resettlements sites.

The supply from the French government was coordinated by the French Red Cross Delegation in Port Vila, led by the Country Director, David BOISSON, in conjunction with Vanuatu Red Cross Society and the French Embassy in Vanuatu..

The international supply is comprised of 150 family kits that include kitchen set, shelter set, sleeping mat and tarpaulins.

Also the French Government is also looking at locally purchasing 1000 other NFI (blankets, jerry cans…) to be distributed by Vanuatu Red Cross Society to 150 displaced households and up to 100 host families, according to further assessment on relocation sites.

“At this point in time, VRCS has not yet decided on the dispatch of this relief supply, until we receive a final decision and relocation plan from the government about the Ambae situation, then from there VRCS can proceed with its response plan. But in the meantime, we already sent a vehicle to Ambae to help our Red Cross Volunteers doing the ground work. Transportation is one of our big challenge in our islands “said the CEO of Vanuatu Red Cross, Jacqueline De Gaillande

Disaster Response Emergency Fund allocated to Vanuatu Red Cross Society

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released over thirty million vatu (VT30,000,000) from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund to support the Vanuatu Red Cross  to reach up to 5,000 people, affected by Ambae Volcano eruption. “The Vanuatu Red Cross operation will aim to assist people permanently relocating from Ambae to transition to their new location and begin to rebuild their lives.” says Jacqueline De Gaillande, Chief Executive Officer and Disaster Management Coordinator of Vanuatu Red Cross Society.

 “Vanuatu Red Cross will mobilise its emergency response trained volunteers across Penama, Sanma and Shefa provinces to respond through the distribution of relief items and provision of support for the evacuees.”

Commenting on the nature of the response, Mrs De Gaillande says “This response differs from our usual responses as the evacuation is quite a slow process however Vanuatu Red Cross will be ready to assist as soon as evacuation plans are confirmed and people start moving. Until then, Vanuatu Red Cross is working with the provincial government on Ambae to assist people evacuated to safe centres in the East of the island and to ensure that key messages regarding the plans for evacuation are reaching communities.”

The emergency funding will support approximately 5,000 people  – up to 1,000 families – with water, sanitation and hygiene support, materials for emergency shelters such as tarpaulins and shelter tool kits, household and personal items, as well as water containers.

IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.

No more 2.5 Miles walk to fetch water

Having access to water is a wish for many remote rural communities in islands across Vanuatu, like on the island of Gaua in Torba province.

In 2012, Vanuatu Red Cross, with the support of USAID and the Red Cross, responded to a petition from the North East Gaua community requesting assistance with their water supply, as it was a big challenge to their lives and livelihoods.

Mrs Pauline Atkin from Gaua volcanic island had to walk more than 2.5 miles a day to bring water to her seven children.  When there was not enough water, Pauline had no other alternative than collecting heavy coconuts to provide drinking water for her children, a demanding task.

As Pauline said, other villagers had planned to bring water from this spring to their coastal villages for many years. Even though they had a workforce able to build a water gravity system, they lacked technical knowledge and materials such as pipes, tanks and taps. 

They sent a request to the Red Cross – USAID funded project, which has been implementing such construction of water gravity systems since 2012 in Vanuatu. 

Pauline and the villagers dug 8 miles of trench in the jungle with shovel and pickaxe. They installed pipes under the guidance of water engineers, in order to build a strong and durable system. They elected a water committee, made up of women and men from the community, who have been trained (on topics such as plumbing or water community policies) and are responsible for the maintenance and management of the new water system.

Pauline can now easily access water; she is no longer drinking coconuts because she needs it but because she likes it. 

“Now that we have this new water system, it makes life much easier for us. We no longer go far away to fetch the water; instead we walk a few feet from our house”. 

Pauline is one of the thousands of people who have benefited from the USAID-supported projects to access water in Vanuatu. Under this framework between 2012 and 2018, more than 30 miles of pipe trenches have been dug by hand.

Communities were also mobilized for local material collection (such as sand, gravels and rocks) and the transport of thousands of bags and pipes. 

Barry Wobur, the local Area council secretary responsible for the development of this island, said this program directly benefits the people, allowing them to improve their daily life and their health. It also strengthens the community’s resilience and shows them that they have the ability create a better place for the next generation.

 

Vanuatu Red Cross Society helping affected population on Ambae island.

 

“Red Cross helping affected population on Ambae“

Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS) management team has met this morning to immediately revisit its ongoing response operations plan, after the declaration of the State of Emergency” on the island of Ambae by the Vanuatu Government, on Thursday this week.

“Our priority now is to make sure that the most affected people on the island of Ambae are equipped with masks, safety glasses and other essential items as part of our Health & Safety kits. We have mobilized our volunteers on the ground, to start distributing over 800 of these kits immediately; also to liaise with National Disaster Management Office to begin sending over donations that have been collected as part of our appeal ” said Madam Jacqueline De Gaillande, the Chief Executive Officer of VRCS.

The ash fall  from Lombenben Volcano activity has increased significantly in recent weeks and the Red Cross branch in Ambae are continuing to respond to people’s basic needs. One of the main actions launched by VRCS since the double disasters of ash fall and flash flood or Lahar, in Ambae, has been the public appeal for donations. VRCS is calling for people to donate clothes, beddings and kitchen utensils to the appeal. VRCS is also accepting cash donations.

“All donations should be made at the Red Cross Headquarters in Port Vila, or in Red Cross Branches located in the provinces because we have a recording process in place. Unfortunately Vanuatu Red Cross cannot accept food donations. If people have food they would like to donate, they could instead sell it to raise funds which can then be donated to Red Cross to assist the Ambae population ” explained Mme De Gaillande. All cash donations should be made directly to the Vanuatu Red Cross Finance department.

POLICE AND VMF TRAINING (LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING)

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VANUATU – Forty four police (VPF) and para-military (VMF) officers participated in a four- day training seminar in Vanuatu on International Rules and Standards for Policing which was facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the Vanuatu Police Force.
The training seminar which was conducted by the ICRC’s Regional Delegate for Police & Security for the Philippines and the Pacific, Mr. Anand Appadoo, was held from 6th to 8th November for 20 police officers in Port Vila and from 9th to 10th November for 24 police officers in Santo.
The seminar focused on arrest/detention, search and seizure, use of force and firearms, crowd management and root causes for behaviour in situations of violence.
The Vanuatu Police Force had requested the ICRC to provide training for its officers who will be involved in providing security during the Mini Pacific Games which will be hosted in Port Vila in December.
The first day of the seminar was opened by the Vanuatu Police Commissioner Mr. Albert Nalpini who thanked the ICRC for taking the time to provide this valuable training which his police officers will greatly benefit from.
He said the training is timely and prior to Vanuatu playing host to thousands of athletes who will convene in Port Vila next month to compete for the Mini Pacific Games.
In closing the two-day training in Santo, Assistant Police Commissioner and Commander North Mr Willie Samuel thanked the ICRC for the training session which in his view is very useful and would help the officers in Santo when they will support and doing their duties during the Mini Pacific Games in Vila.

 Vanuatu Red Cross dissemination presentation

Vanuatu Red Cross dissemination presentation

VANUATU – Forty four police (VPF) and para-military (VMF) officers participated in a four- day training seminar in Vanuatu on International Rules and Standards for Policing which was facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the Vanuatu Police Force.
The training seminar which was conducted by the ICRC’s Regional Delegate for Police & Security for the Philippines and the Pacific, Mr. Anand Appadoo, was held from 6th to 8th November for 20 police officers in Port Vila and from 9th to 10th November for 24 police officers in Santo.
The seminar focused on arrest/detention, search and seizure, use of force and firearms, crowd management and root causes for behaviour in situations of violence.
The Vanuatu Police Force had requested the ICRC to provide training for its officers who will be involved in providing security during the Mini Pacific Games which will be hosted in Port Vila in December.
The first day of the seminar was opened by the Vanuatu Police Commissioner Mr. Albert Nalpini who thanked the ICRC for taking the time to provide this valuable training which his police officers will greatly benefit from.
He said the training is timely and prior to Vanuatu playing host to thousands of athletes who will convene in Port Vila next month to compete for the Mini Pacific Games.
In closing the two-day training in Santo, Assistant Police Commissioner and Commander North Mr Willie Samuel thanked the ICRC for the training session which in his view is very useful and would help the officers in Santo when they will support and doing their duties during the Mini Pacific Games in Vila.

 Closing of the workshop at the Maritime college in Luganville, Santo.

Closing of the workshop at the Maritime college in Luganville, Santo.

VANUATU RCS ATTENDS IFRC GENERAL ASSEMBLY

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VANUATU RCS ATTENDS IFRC GENERAL ASSEMBLY

And supports election of new IFRC President

 Tuesday 7 November 2017

The Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS) is being represented at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) General Assembly being held in Antalya, Turkey.

And on Monday 6 November, Vanuatu and other red cross societies from the Pacific stood together in supporting and successfully elected Italy Red Cross Society President Francesco Rocca to the position of IFRC President.

 “It is only normal that we support Italy because they have been talking with us about potential program support, similar to what they are already doing with other societies in the Pacific”, VRCS President Ati George Sokomanu said after personally congratulating Mr. Rocca after his successful election on Monday.

 VRCS Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline de Gaillande says “they have talked to us about support VRCS in first aid training programs for accidents and disasters happening in the sea. They have supported the Cook Islands red cross and we have discussed with them the possibility of partnering with them in a similar program for us in Vanuatu”.

Mr. Rocca was elected by 178 national RCS presidents attending the IFRC General Assembly meeting in Antalya, Turkey.

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 In his speech, Mr. Rocca paid tributeto the courage and dedication of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers around the world, and vowed to focus on ensuring they have continued and greater support.

 “We owe it to them to change and to strengthen our capacity,” he said. 

“One of the first things I will focus on is addressing any integrity issues within our network. We owe it to our volunteers who risk their lives every day. We owe it to the communities who look to us for support, when no one else can help. And we owe it to the people around the world who look to the Red Cross and Red Crescent as signs of hope.”

 Mr Rocca’s election comes at a critical juncture for the IFRC and the wider humanitarian community. Aid organizations are responding to a range of complex and global challenges, and are struggling to respond to rising needs while balancing increasingly constrained budgets.

 The new President will play an important role in ensuring that Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies can continue to support the most vulnerable and isolated.

Meanwhile the meetings are continuing this week with different sessions taking place simultaneously on the various programs and aspects of the operation of IFRC.

 VRCS delegation to the important meeting include society President Ati George Sokomanu, CEO Mrs De Gaillande, VRCS Treasurer Moses Stevens, Organisational Development Coordinator Dickenson Tevi and VRCS Youth rep ElindaTaleo.

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