Parts of both Vanuatu islands have been blanketed in ash from the latest eruption of the Manaro volcano on Ambae.
The government has a mandatory evacuation of the Ambaeans to Maewo, though some are choosing, at their own expense, to go to Santo or Port Vila.
Our Vanuatu correspondent Godwin Ligo, who works with the Daily Post, said water sources are all polluted with ash but in most villages there are households that have substantial water tanks and they are now selling their water.
He said "the people are paying them 200 vatu or 150 vatu or if you like in New Zealand dollars, $1.50 or $2 for a bucket of water."
Godwin Ligo said another financial strain for people are the medical costs of treatment for worsening breathing problems.
He said the National Disaster Management Office had assessed the area and he hoped supplies of water will be brought in by boat.