No deaths related to ash fall: PENAMA Health

PENAMA Health Authorities say there have been no deaths directly related to the ash fall on Ambae.

However, they have confirmed ailments such as eye irritations, influenza type illness and other respiratory complaints.

The provincial Health Authorities refuted the claims of some deaths resulting from the ash fall on social media in a statement, and at the same time provided update on the health response underway on the ground.

So far, Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) have distributed health, hygiene and sanitation kits to 643 people in 11 evacuation centers in east Ambae.

Distributions of Health kids and WASH kits to 407 households in north Ambae will continue in the coming weeks.Tahimamavi, Loone, Lolosori, Lolovenue, Lolovimataboe, Lovuibini, Lolopuepue, Lolovange, Ambanga and Lombaha are some of the affected communities.

The thickness of ash which begun falling in these areas from April 10 to 11, is said to be 10 to 15cm. Those near the volcano suffer significant damage.

EMTs have also reached Waluriki and distributed health kits and WASH materials to victims of the Waluebue landslide.

They conducted health awareness, provided medical evacuations, mental health and psychosocial support, maternal and child health, disease surveillance, immunizations, water, sanitation and hygiene.

Regarding ash related illnesses, PENAMA Health Authorities said they will continue to monitor the situation carefully over the coming weeks. 

"Residents have been advised to use masks and appropriate eye care when exposed to ash," PENAMA Health Authorities stated. 

"All water sources must be protected and any drinking water must be chlorinated, filtered and/or boiled before consumption.

 "Individuals with existing respiratory conditions were advised to avoid  being exposed to ash".

Following the major ash fall, Sanma EMTs were deloyed to Nduindui Health Centre and Lolowai Hospital to assist in the health disaster response.

Lolowai Hospital is operating without outpatient, emergency and in-patient care. Any urgent referrals or evacuations will follow routine evacuation pathways to Northern Provincial Hospital or Vila Central Hospital.

So far, three patients have been medevac'd to NPH for non-ash-related emergencies. 

Integrated mobile EMTs have being deployed from PENAMA Health Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to affected areas and evacuation centers everyday.

The Penama Health EOC is compiling a database for people with disability, to ensure they receive appropriate attention and care. 

It is in direct communication witH national Health EOC, health partners, PENAMA Province and Penama Disaster and Climate Change Committee to ensure health response on the ash fall is effective and well-coordinated.

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