More than 2,000 evacuees are now back on Ambae exactly one month after the Government of Vanuatu ordered the total evacuation of over 11,000 people on September 23 for fear of a major volcanic eruption.
Suzanne Hayes, COCOA Program Officer for GMP was able to talk to Mayble, the CCCV Education Officer, this morning. Mayble advised that the last groups of people would be returning today and tomorrow. People have been leaving since Monday. They are being returned by ship (which only travels during the day) and taking them to the west side of the island. People need to make their own way to the villages. Mayble said that yesterday a number of drivers returned so they will be able to drive the trucks to take people home.
“We heard from the people returned already on Ambae that all the dogs were waiting for them on the wharf where they left. They were all very happy to see their dogs! The cattle and pigs were gone, chickens were dead unfortunately” Santo Ambae Disaster Support Community Facebook
CCCV has been taking calls from people who have returned and the main issue has been about the lack of water, as it has been dry and the water has been contaminated.
“The Chairman of the Disaster Committee of West Ambae told us that the water in their well, water tanks, creeks are acid affected, they can still use the water from the well for the cooking but can not drink. There are NO drinking water.” Santo Ambae Disaster Support Community Facebook
The people are requesting the government to help. The Committee has been giving food and water to the people as they are leaving. The other CCCV staffs were at the wharf this morning handing out water and food to the people returning.
It has been raining for the last two days in Santo and also in Ambae, so that may help in washing some of the volcanic ash. Mayble had not heard about the state of the villages and gardens but said that their families returned yesterday so should be hearing from them in the next day and will have a better idea of the situation.
You can follow live updates via facebook @SantoAmbaeCommunity
Please continue to pray and give to the Vanuatu emergency, thank you!