The aid will directly benefit up to 5 000 people in some of the worst-hit areas in southern and eastern parts of Ambae Island, including Santo, Maewo, and Pentecost.
The EU-funding will support the Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS) in delivering live-saving aid through the distribution of essential relief items, such as tarpaulins, shelter tool kits, sleeping mats, blankets, kitchen sets, solar lights, mosquito nets, and hygiene kits. To reduce the immediate health risks in evacuation centres, awareness activities will also be conducted on water filtration, hygiene promotion, and epidemic control. In addition, psycho-social support will be provided to displaced people, and a cash transfer programme will be initiated through the supply of pre-paid phone credit vouchers to support maintenance of family links and family support.
The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The increased seismic activity on Ambae Island has so far resulted in the displacement of at least 1 400 people, many of whom are seeking shelter in evacuation centres.
On 18th March, authorities had raised the volcano alert status to level 3 after an eruption triggered emissions of gas clouds and heavy volcanic ash falls, causing houses, local structures and trees to collapse under the weight of the ash. Water sources have also been contaminated and food gardens destroyed. The situation prompted the government to declare a three-month state of emergency on 12th April. The number of affected populations is expected to increase.
Photo source RNZ Pacific