Ambae people with umbrellas

Ambae residents during the day have to use umbrellas and cover their hairs to keep the ash off their bodies.

Photo: William S. Mala

The Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS) management team has met yesterday morning to immediately revisit its ongoing response operations plan, after the declaration of the State of Emergency on the island of Ambae by the Vanuatu Government, on Thursday this week.

“Our priority now is to make sure that the most affected people on the island of Ambae are equipped with masks, safety glasses and other essential items as part of our health and safety kits.

“We have mobilized our volunteers on the ground, to start distributing over 800 of these kits immediately; also to liaise with National Disaster Management Office to begin sending over donations that have been collected as part of our appeal,” said Madam Jacqueline De Gaillande, the Chief Executive Officer of VRCS.

The ash fall from Lombenben Volcano activity has increased significantly in recent weeks and the Red Cross branch in Ambae are continuing to respond to people’s basic needs.

One of the main actions launched by VRCS since the double disasters of ash fall and flash flood or Lahar, in Ambae, has been the public appeal for donations. VRCS is calling for people to donate clothes, beddings and kitchen utensils to the appeal. VRCS is also accepting cash donations.

“All donations should be made at the Red Cross Headquarters in Port Vila, or in Red Cross branches located in the provinces because we have a recording process in place.

“Unfortunately Vanuatu Red Cross cannot accept food donations.

“If people have food they would like to donate, they could instead sell it to raise funds which can then be donated to Red Cross to assist the Ambae population,” explained Mme De Gaillande.

All cash donations should be made directly to the Vanuatu Red Cross Finance department.

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