The people of Duviara village, below Manaro volcano on Ambae, have discovered a new spring water after the recent heavy volcanic ash fall.
Duviara villagers say they had to carefully test the water to prove it is good for human consumption, before using it for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing clothes.
Speaking to Daily Post, Paul Vuhu, a Design and Technology Teacher from Matevulu College in Santo, Paul Vuhu, who is from Duviara village confirmed this directly from his home village.
“As we are talking now, the women and the children are moving to and from the spring water filling their buckets and water containers for drinking and cooking and washing. The spring water is crystal clear and taste very nice like rainwater you get from cement tanks,” he said.
Vuhu also related the story of how the people of his village and three other villages in the Abanga district on North Ambae, survived the ash fall, managed to escape damaged house and trees and rebuilt their homes, replant garden and farm livestock.
“When i came home for school holidays, i could not believe how my people survived the heavy ash fall which was measured to nearly a meter, survived fallen houses, fallen tree branches and even fallen trees that were taken down by the volcanic fallen ashes. In fact, my people described the various noises and sounds of fallen buildings, tree branches and trees as ‘sounds of different gun shots. Some old people say the sounds were like the sounds of guns and worse that made the people very afraid but had to stand up and find ways to protect their families,” Vuhu related.
He said the population of Duviara village remained awake from three consecutive nights during the worse ash falls and use shovels, iron roofing and wooden blanks as shields to hold off the fallen ashes as well as removing ash falls from the roofs of their homes.
The only big modern Church building in Duviara village also collapsed due o heavy ash fall over the roof.
“The population of Duviara village took shelter there when the volcano started spewing ashes but as it got worse and the people realized the roof of the Church building could collapse, the quickly sought safe shelter in other permanent homes just before the roof collapsed,” said Vuhu.
He said it was a miracle no one was hurt nor killed.
“All houses in my village of Duviara were brought down by the volcanic ash falls. The population was lucky enough no one was injured nor killed. The men, woke up all night till morning and repeated the same over three days in protecting their families, the old folks, women and children and so we thank God the entire villages, not only Duviara, but also at Lolowalu, Lovuimoto and Lolodoudou, all in Abanga district were safe during the disastrous volcanic ashes,” Vuhu added.
On the question of the population of the four villages receiving the government decision in voluntary evacuation of the population of Ambae and Maewo chosen as Ambae people second home and others may move voluntarily to other islands, Vuhu, said they have received the information and are still considering which options to take.
“The total population of the four villages of Abanga comes to over 300 and as i am speaking to the Daily Post from my home village here in Duviara, my people are listening and will be making their decision on the Government Decision, in relation to the offers by Maewo and the voluntary evacuation. We here in Abanga, wish to thank the Vanuatu Government, the National Disaster Management Office, the Vanuatu Police Force and VMF, the Red Cross, Government Institutions, the Penama provincial Government Council, our Chiefs, Churches in Vanuatu and the Churches of Christ Church in the USA for all the food, water,and other assistance we have received so far,” Vuhu conveyed on behalf of the chiefs, the churches and other leaders and the population of the four villages in Abanga.
He also revealed that he and a team of young men from his village and Abanga, have just returned from a visit up to the crater of the Manaro volcano.
“The volcano still rumbles every now and then and you can still see the smoke coming out of the volcanic crater but it is no longer spewing lava. Our people understand that we have to take note of the advisory messages coming from the Geohazards for the safety of our people. Our people will decide on this shortly, taking into account the future safety of our people,” the Matevulu Technology teacher told the Daily Post.
He said the Kindy and Classes 1-3 in Abanga district are resuming school classes this week so as not to miss their education while waiting for the elders and parents to make a decision on voluntary evacuation.
“Our crops and vegetation are getting green again. And yes, i am retuning to Santo to continue teaching at Matevulu College,” said Vuhu.