While the Ambae volcano is calming down, the work to distribute relief supplies is ongoing to support the people of Ambae in evacuation centers on Maewo, Santo, and Pentecost.

The Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Choules has landed its trucks and amphibious crafts on Maewo with rice, water, tarpaulins, tents, large marques, kitchen items, toilet seats, and 1000 liter water tanks.

There were 82 25kg sacks of rice, 80 cartons of canned fish, 54 tents, 14 toilet seats, 64 kitchen kits, 15 buckets, 79 cartons of bottled water, 2 1000liter water tanks, 15 packs of household items with six big ones, and six buckets of cracker biscuits.

The big marques will be used to accommodate classes from Ambaebulu school students now at Gambule.

The 64 members of the Australian defense force onboard the HMAS Choules went army shore with the supplies, spent the day with the families at Beitarara and surrounding villages and visited the evacuees northwards to Naone and villages further north, played football and had some kava with the people before reboarding their ship and heading for Pentecost for a similar visit.

A leader of the Ambae evacuees on Maewo, Pastor Keith Mala, has told visiting Australian and New Zealand government representatives and Penama Provincial Council authorities on Sunday that they are being well looked after by their hosts and they are happy with the way they are being cared for.

The visitors who included the Secretary General of Penama Province, Georgewin Garae, flew into Naone village by helicopter from Luganville, Santo, on Sunday afternoon. They met the Chairman of the Maewo Response Management Team (MRMT), Chief Rasa Ure and his team members and spoke with the evacuees from Nanigama at Naone.

“The purpose of their visit was to hear from the evacuees about how they felt about their stay on Maewo and if they needed anything,” the Coordinator of MRMT Ezekiel Boelum said.

“Pastor Keith Mala responded on behalf of the evacuees at Naone that the people of Maewo have looked after them very well from day one since their arrival and he has not heard any word yet from the evacuees at other villages that they are facing problems.

But the pastor requested tents for families to use.

This is the second week of their arrival on Maewo where some 500 people have been spread from the north to the south of the island with the bulk in the north.

Earlier, on Sunday morning the Australian Navy landing ship HMAS Choules arrived at Beitarara and unloaded relief supplies to help the Maewo families hosting the Ambae evacuees.

The coordinating team consisting of the Vanuatu Red Cross and the Penama Province Disaster Supervisor Manson Tari handed over the relief supplies to the MRMT for distribute to the host villages.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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