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.