Vanuatu Emergency Appeal
In response to the devastating Volcanic activity in Vanuatu, GMP has launched a Churches of Christ Overseas Aid (COCOA) Emergency Appeal in an effort to raise some critical support for the thousands who have been displaced from their homes, families and communities.
In September, the Vanuatu Government ordered the entire population (approximately 11,000 people) of Ambae, an Island in the north of Vanuatu, to immediately evacuate. GMP initially responded to requests from the Churches of Christ Conference office in Vanuatu, making $10,000 available immediately. Those funds were used to support evacuees in Santo and dispersed through the Churches of Christ in Vanuatu and the Vanuatu Council of Churches Disaster Response program.
Now the people displaced due to this disaster are returning to devastation.
Although the state of emergency was lifted on October 27, the situation is still dire for most communities whose homes have been affected by the Volcanic activity.
"The situation is very sad. The communities have returned to most of their gardens destroyed by cows and pigs which were let loose when the people were evacuated. They have lost a lot of their root crops – rough estimate is 70%. On top of this the volcanic ash has also damaged plants – and acid rain has destroyed vegetation – we saw evidence of acid rain in the east. The volcanic ash varies from fine dust (around the coastal areas), to sand like consistency (closer to the volcano) and the south area have received chunks sizes – like 2 to 4cm in length. The falling ash can also be hot and burns. There is a shortage of food – the markets have been closed and so far only some people have been given rice and tinned meat. The local shop has food but people are not really buying.
Clean drinking water is also a major issue as whilst some communities covered their tanks, there is concern on what happens when this water runs out. Those in the area with fine ash, the fine ash has got into tanks whether they were covered or not. Those uncovered tanks are now contaminated with ash. They are frightened to use the water for cooking/drinking … The people are saying they are coughing more... (and some have) sore eyes, and skin rashes." – Suzanne Hayes, COCOA Program Officer
Suzanne Hayes, COCOA Program Officer, and Esline Toamauvte, Secretary General of the Churches of Christ Conference Vanuatu (CCCV) recently visited the Ambae communities to conduct a rapid needs survey. They consulted with 27 Churches of Christ Communities around Ambae to understand the needs of local people, and work out the best way we can assist.
Based on those findings, GMP will be responding by providing vouchers, which will allow communities to access essential clean water, food and household supplies from local shops. Clean water and food were the highest priorities of all the communities’ surveyed. The vouchers will allow each community some freedom to access the supplies most needed in their community, with the type of items being monitored CCCV and GMP. Partnering with local shops will minimize transport and administration costs, and support the local economy. This access to clean water and food is vital, and will have a huge impact as the people of Ambae adjust to living with an active volcano.
We understand many of our supporters already contribute financially to the work of GMP, and for that we are truly grateful. If you are also able to partner with us in this emergency we, and the people of Ambae would be deeply thankful.
You can give using the side panel found on the right hand side of this page, or download the giving form. Donations over $2 to the COCOA Ambae Emergency Appeal are tax-deductible.