A prominent figure on the island of Ambae, Steven Garae, has made a call to authorities to leave the people of Ambae on their island as they are adapting to living with the new condition of the island.
Garae said Ambae is a volcanic island and has developed to an active volcano and its subsequent negative impacts.
“These negative impacts we encountered in 2017 and again in April 2018, we are starting to adjust to living in a volcanic environment as people of Tanna and Ambrym have experienced,” he said.
“Ash fall on Ambae stopped on the night of April 10 2018 and life continues as usual thereafter. Our lives are no longer threatened by any more ash fall nor other volcanic disposals that are life threatening to Ambae based residents other than the normal minor explosions and smokes usual from an active volcano.
Garae said that the natural vegetation and crops flourish providing a promising livelihood for Ambaens and for investors.
“We appreciate your assistance to date and also acknowledge receipt of white rice, canned tuna, second grade Fiji canned fish, bottled water.”
Garae alleged that a handful of Ambaens propagated and exaggerated the situations on the ground during the volcanic ash fall in April 2018 that could have triggered anger from those in authority and thus fired back on Ambae based residents.
“But, the worse that is life threatening to Ambae based residents now comes from the Penama politicians who used their authorities and implemented their longed desired intentions that significantly affected our livelihood.”
“They painted Ambae as a no-humans land, implementing decisions that are causing us psychological trauma, destructing our normal livelihood, our financial sources, physical developments, educational progress and the list continues, State of emergency from ch.11 of Vanuatu constitution intended to protect Vanuatu citizens during disasters is used by some leaders as a weapon today to intimidate and devalue us Ambaen and our lovely island.”
“When we expressed our disagreement to a permanent relocation, NDMO officer designated to Saratamata threatened us by telling us, the government would stop its services to Ambaens who would not relocate to maewo- We are told Vanuatu government has had enough of the ambaen complaints and also for spending money unnecessarily on us during volcanic disaster therefore decided to relocate the entire population to Maewo.”
Garae emphasized that leaders are advised that should any natural calamity affects Ambaens in future, they deserve to decide what assistance they require as they are the ones feeling the negative impacts of the causes.
“We require to be involved in the decision makings that affect our livelihood,” he said.
“We urge the government to install on ambae better and effective monitoring equipment that are capable of predetermining the causes of Manaro volcano.”
As a resident of East Ambae, Garae confirmed that Ambae is safe, habitable and suitable for any developments.