Vanuatu Red Cross Society response on Maewo Island.

Port Vila, 18 September 2018 — Vanuatu Red Cross Society is active on the ground in Maewo with its volunteers from Penama and Sanma Branches.

 A team of 5 Sanma Volunteers were deployed to Maewo Island, to relieve and assist Penama Branch Volunteers who have been working tirelessly to support off Ambae operations undertaken by the Government through the National Disaster Management office.

 On Monday 10th September 2018, 7 volunteers from Penama Red Cross Branch, led by Morris Tari, assisted Ngota community school to erect a child friendly space tent to be used as classrooms for Ambae children who are now living in the host village.

The Tents allocated for classrooms were distributed by Education cluster.

 According to Chief Michael Ngwele from Ngota village, his community population has increased with the arrival of over 130 Ambaean families and that requires additional shelters as teaching classrooms.

 Ngota community has a thatch house used as a kindergarten classroom, however with the additional number of school children from Ambae, the Shelter cluster with the assistance of VRCS volunteers has provided a tent to be used as classroom to accommodate 29 francophone students from year 4, 5 and 6.

  “I am so happy that we have an extra tent for our children. We do have a thatch house for year 1 that was built last year, but we need more because we have Ambae school children as well.

We are thankful that Vanuatu Red Cross Society comes now, because we have been waiting for help. Now our children from Ambae can start going to school“.

 Ngota village is now hosting 37 households – a total of 137 evacuees from Ambae and since last week National Disaster Management Office  started food distributions to all Maewo host communities

 Also, as Vanuatu is entering cyclone season, one of Vanuatu Red Cross society‘s core activities is to help vulnerable communities to prepare before any natural disaster. 

In partnership with Shelter cluster led by Public Works Deparment , Vanuatu Red Cross Society  like  other shelter partners, completed its assessment  in  Maewo host communities. Since last week, Penama RC Volunteers were visiting Maewo host communities’ evacuation sites to inspect existing safe centers, such as Nakamals, church houses and community halls, from the north down to the south of the island.

During the visit, the team identified building risks such as walls, doors, windows, roofs; and provided estimates on how many people can be saved inside each building. 

One of the common findings during the inspections is that there is a lack of space to cater for Maewo community and evacuees, and for some evacuation sites, there is no safe center at all.

All the informations collected during the assessment will be shared to shelter cluster Team for further consideration.