Multi-Cluster Team leaves for Ambae to conduct assessment

After Monday’s Inter-Cluster Meeting, a team will be deployed to Ambae to assess the impacts of ash fall in affected areas.Photo: Terence Malapa

A Multi-Cluster Team has been deployed to Ambae to conduct a full assessment of the situation on the ground, to determine if the island is safe for people to return.

The Council of Ministers (COM) after lifting the State of Emergency (SoE) on Ambae Island recommended immediate ground assessment.

An Inter-Cluster Meeting was held at the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) on Monday this week to fulfill the COM decision.

The Acting Director of NDMO, Shadrack Welegtabit, said that some cluster representatives have traveled from Port Vila to Santo before going to Ambae.

They were expected to board a ship on Santo yesterday morning with other officers from Santo.

They will be assessing the impacts of ash fall on crops, livestock, water sources, and infrastructure, school and health facilities in the affected areas on Ambae for several days.

The Multi-Cluster Assessment Team is also tasked to provide data on the repatriation of Ambae people.

The assessment report, once completed will be submitted to NDMO, which will inform the government on the humanitarian and recovery response.

Some officers from the Penama Provincial Government Council will be accompanying the assessment team including the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) that will be assisting by providing security on ground.

VPF has conducted series of search on the island during the SoE and has reported that Ambae is recovering from the ash fall however, the volcano alert status is still maintained at level 2.

At the end of the SoE the government encouraged the people of Ambae relocated to Maewo not to return home yet.

The government is concerned that their safety cannot be guaranteed because no assessment has been done while the SoE was in place to determine the conditions on ground.

A lot of families refused to follow this advice and have already returned to their homes.

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