Today we announce further humanitarian assistance to support the Government of Vanuatu respond to the latest volcanic eruption on Ambae Island.
For the second time since September 2017, volcanic ash has covered Ambae Island, making it largely uninhabitable and triggering its evacuation. Ash fall and acid rain have damaged crops, contaminated water sources, and pose serious long-term health and safety risks to more than 10,000 people. The Government of Vanuatu declared a state of emergency on 12 April and plans to relocate Ambae Island communities to neighbouring islands.
Australia is providing $300,000 to support the Government of Vanuatu’s evacuation of Ambae Island, with a particular focus on the needs of women, children and people with disabilities. We will provide emergency supplies including shelter tool kits, hygiene kits and tents to assist people who need to move to temporary relocation sites. We will also provide essential reproductive health care, including birthing kits and emergency obstetric and newborn care.
A disaster risk management expert and logistics officer from Australia are currently supporting the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office manage the evacuation. An Australian resettlement expert will be deployed in May to support relocation efforts.
The new funding commitment is in addition to $3.25 million in support that Australia provided for the first evacuation of Ambae Island in October 2017.
Australia is working closely with the Government of Vanautu and partners, including New Zealand and France, to support affected communities.