There are many tent cities dotted through the Luganville area. All these tents have come through Australian Emergency Overseas Aid and delivered through the Australian Defence Force (we have 2 ships here now). Estimated number of people from Ambae at Luganville is about 7000. Further 3000 on Maewo and Pentecost, with about 500 in Port Vila.
The Vunamele church (Luganville) is the focus of the Vanuatu Churches of Christ work and they are distributing food, clothing and other aid to the evacuees. They are very well organised and are being given tasks such as this in preference to other local authorities due to their efficient and timely work, that is effectively happening on the ground. Aid is coming through from Australia and New Zealand - Government's Foreign Aid, churches and major NGO's. Local private companies and businesses are helping with many tasks, especially transporting of these materials to the various camps.
We are not able to plan what will happen in the future. Evacuees will remain where they are until the island is declared safe. This will be for at least two more weeks. Some parts of Ambae are less affected than others. West Ambae has borne the brunt of the ash and impact of ‘acid rain’. This means that as people return they will need assistance with clean and safe water, reestablishment of gardens and access to health and support services.
Peter Bryant, Vanuatu.
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