Chiefs from Maewo and Pentecost have stepped forward with offers to host the entire population of Ambae, reflecting the spirit of unity within PENAMA Province.
The Maewo Island Council of Chiefs have an offer of four plots of land, large enough to provide space for resettlement for the population of Ambae, including spaces for infrastructures such as educational facilities, health facilities, water storage and other essential services.
Their offer was presented to the PENAMA Provincial Council in the form of a resolution, two days ago. It is a long-term solution and meant to give the people of Ambae a new beginning.
The PENAMA Provincial Council also received an offer from the Pentecost Island Council of Chiefs yesterday.
According to the offer, Pentecost is prepared to accept 9,000 people from Ambae to resettle in three different areas.
North Pentecost is prepared to receive 3,000 people, Central Pentecost will take 2,000 and South Pentecost will accommodate 4,000, making a total of 9,000 people.
They also took education and medical facilities, spaces for family homes, water supply systems, and other essential services into consideration.
Both Council of Chiefs said their offers are for families on Ambae to make their second home away from Ambae, said PENAMA’s Provincial Council Acting Secretary General, Georgina Faerua.
The PENAMA Council through its Disaster Emergency Operations Center will dispatch a technical team to Maewo today, and thereafter Pentecost to have final discussions with the Chiefs and final reconfirmation before the actual move to relocate the people.
“We are coordinating these with the national government through the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), the PENAMA Provincial Disaster Operations Center and all other partners to ensure we cover every required step before the move because we dealing with lives, the elderly, women and children. Their present way of living and future must be well considered as we begin to move forward,” Acting SG Faerua told the Daily Post yesterday.
She said the decisions by the Maewo and Pentecost Council of Chiefs are both confirmed, however, there are a number of factors to be considered including the views of the affected population of Ambae, in such a drastic move.
The PENAMA Provincial Council has confirmed the affected population in the affected villages and areas in Ambae, have been evacuated and are now in safe centers in East Ambae at the Evacuation Centers in Vureas St. Patrick College and at Torgil Center.
“The tasks in the evacuation process began after the national government declared a state of emergency over the whole of Ambae island,” said Faerua.
“The PENAMA Provincial Emergency Operations Center is closely working together with the national government through NDMO, the Vanuatu Red Cross Society and other partners in carrying out the operations. We have faced different challenges and thank the national government, the NDMO, government institutions, donor partners and everyone, including foreign partners, business communities and individuals in helping this far.”
She added there has been a lot of effort put into place in dealing with the 10,110 population on the island in the evacuation and relocation process to temporary safe centers.
The PENAMA Provincial Council Disaster Emergency Centers have been busy, working closely with government agencies such as the civil registration office in registering the people with National Identity (ID) cards. This is to assist the Provincial Council and the national government in ensuring that the affected population of Ambae are accorded the best assistance they must receive.
At the same time, the council said the affected population must always remain in contact with the PENAMA Provincial Council and the national government through the NDMO because some affected families have allegedly been misinformed through mobile phone communications, this has raised confusion amongst the affected population.
“Such confusion has led to fear amongst families and affected communities members, the council urges everyone to maintain contact with the Provincial Emergency Operations and the NDMO to get right and correct information,” the Acting SG concluded.