GMP launched a Churches of Christ Overseas Aid (COCOA) Vanuatu Emergency Appeal during October to raise critical support for the thousands of people displaced from their homes, families and communities due to the volcanic activity on Ambae Island. An initial $10,000 was made available by GMP to assist the emergency and once the appeal was launched, generous donations have come in from individuals and churches at this stage with more than $30,000 given.
When the volcano, Manaro, threatened to erupt, the Vanuatu Government ordered the entire population (approximately 11,000 people) to immediately evacuate the Island. As of October 4, people from Ambae had been moved to other areas including Pentecost, Maewo, Santo and Port Vila. The Churches of Christ Conference office in Santo became the disaster response centre, processing the evacuees, documenting their names and villages, and providing emergency accommodation.
Esline Toamavute, General Secretary of Churches of Christ Conference in Vanuatu (CCCV) says: “Our CCCV church work within Vanuatu has been supported by the people from Ambae. If this tragedy or displacement of this tribe continues, it will greatly affect the future of our work nationally. The total number of people displaced from around 30 churches on Ambae is a big number. Everyone from Ambae is affected, including all religions. Relatives not living on the island are also affected, as they must now support families who have been evacuated.”
Now in November, people from Ambae have returned to their homes to find devastating effects for their water sources, gardens and livestock. Please continue to pray and support the people of Vanuatu during this time of emergency and beyond, as people look to the future and begin re-building their lives. GMP is also working with other agencies so that we can be part of a coordinated support program as people resettle on Ambae.