A six-resolution letter to the Prime Minister endorsed by four Ambaean Leaders has called for the return of all Ambaeans currently living on Maewo when the State of Emergency (SOE) lapses on September 26.
Expressing their dissatisfaction of what that they are faced with on Maewo as a “failed system”; the four Ambaean Leaders say they have written to the Government with their grievances following an Ambae Island Council Meeting on Maewo on August 26 to issue to following resolutions:
• That at the lapse of SOE on September 26, 2018, all Ambeans currently residing on the Island of Maewo should return to Ambae at the expense of the Vanuatu Government.
• In consideration of extensive devastation done to homes and gardens for some families, we resolved that temporary settlements be erected at safe zones on East Ambae and Walaha respectively to accommodate families while they rebuild ruins at their villages and replace food crops.
• That the government continue to provide food support of Ambaean families on Ambae till families can sustain own livelihood.
• That the government assist in the construction of temporary homes at safe zones on Ambae to be utilized on our return from Maewo and too during future SOE implementations.
They have observed the relocation sides on Maewo and do not agree with the sites saying they are still exposed to Manaro volcanic ash fall and not acceptable sites for their people to live on. “A steaming hot spring on one of the sites does not provide our people with a sense of separation from the Manaro Volcano on Ambae so we therefore resolve for Santo being our Ambaean people’s second home”, they say.
• That all government services, financial institutions, and other services providers are relocated to Ambae on the day the Ambaeans place their feet on Ambae soil.
• Ambaeans experience food dilemma on Maewo which is unacceptable by all standard. Obviously there is a failed food support programme leaving Ambaeans to rely on rice and tinned fished for three meals a day which is unhealthy for us and can pose health risks for especially children, elderlies and those on medical conditions. Supply of food crops on Maewo has run dry leaving some families having none or one piece per person of for example manioc, provision of beef is insufficient leaving families in some settlements without a share.
• There is urgent requirement for supply of local foods to Maewo to subsidise the current shortfalls.
• There is urgent requirement for a fair distribution of both local crops and fresh meat so that everyone Ambaean family receives a fair share of the provisions.
• That Ambae based primary schools should be relocated to Ambae at the lapse of SOE.
• In consideration of end of year examination times for secondary school students and to avoid continual study disruptions, it is recommended that secondary school students remain and be relocated to Ambae only at the lapse of end of year examinations.
• Whereby a members of Ambaean family dies on relocated settlements, that the government be responsible for transporting the dead body and immediately members of family to Ambae for a proper and respectful customary burial.
• That the government install on Ambae an advanced monitoring equipment manned by a qualified volcanologist to enable Ambaeans access to up-to-date information and advise on Manaro volcanic activities from a specialist.
The resolutions have been signed by Lungei Tagaro Council representative Chief Isaac Bani, Tokatara Council representative Chief Jacque Sese, and Vatueulu Council representative Chief Ken Garae.