Ambae Volcano Crisis - Vanuatu
The people of Ambae and Navuti live next to a volcano, but never really worried about it until the volcano started spewing thick smoke and ash. “The sky started rumbling and people panicked,” says Florian, a 45-year-old mother of seven from the village of Navuti, West Ambae.
Following the State of Emergency announced by the Government of Vanuatu, the evacuation out of Ambae was much more challenging than locals had anticipated. Florian and her family ended up in a camp on another island for several weeks, where health and hygiene conditions were concerning, especially for girls and women.
“The return to our village was a relief for us, but also a difficult time. Life is different now for us,” says Florian with tears in her eyes. “The spewing of smoke, ash and acid rain continues and it is frightening." When Florian and the rest of the villagers returned, the shops in their village did not open because the shop owners did not come back after the evacuation. There was no place to buy everyday items.
Funded by the Australian Humanitarian Partnership, dignity kits have been provided to returned residents by CAN DO (Church Agencies Network – Disaster Operations), partnering with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and Anglican Overseas Aid.
"Girls and women really need the items in these dignity kits to maintain health and hygiene,” said Florian.
“We returned and found that life is difficult. Thank you so much for providing these kits to us in this community because you gave us some hope to continue,” she says with a smile. Dignity kits include toilet paper, toothbrushes, soap, toothpaste, washing powder and sanitary pads.”
Date of article: January 2018.
In 2017, Caritas/CAN DO and their partners, ADRA and Anglican Overseas Aid received $350,000 through the AHP to respond to the Ambae Volcano crisis. The length of this response is October 2017 - July 2018.