The Government has endorsed a Vt200 million emergency fund, to help the victims of the volcano eruption on Ambae.

The Vt200 million emergency fund will be allocated to the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) to accelerate efforts to rescue villagers, provide immediate shelter, food and water for the people.

The expenditure will be controlled by the Department of Finance. This is to make sure the money is utilised for its right purpose and will not be a repeat of past experiences of “wasteful spending”, said the Public Relation Officer (PRO) to the Prime Minister’s Office, Hilaire Bule.

The Council of Ministers (CoM), has agreed for Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) and NDMO to continue to monitor the volcano and provide updates to the government and alert warnings to the people.

This comes as the CoM declared a state of emergency on the island, following the eruption and approved the response fund yesterday.

The declaration will be revised every two weeks, until support is no longer needed and when the volcano is no longer a serious threat.

Thousands of people have fled their homes for safer grounds on the island when the volcano erupted and started belching out large volume of volcanic debris as ash clouds, gas flying stones and flames which is harmful to livestock, the environment and can damage infrastructure.

The NDMO Director, Shedrack Welegtabit, confirmed that over 7, 000 people will be evacuated to safety zones.

As of yesterday (Monday) morning, over 3, 000 villagers have been evacuated, the Disaster Coordinator of Red Cross Vanuatu (RCV) who is part of the Disaster Working Committee at Saratamata conveyed.

“The figure is expected to increase as evacuation continues through the day until noon. Evacuation is expected to be completed yesterday,” he said.

Around 21 locals from south Ambae have been evacuated to Maewo - on a boat, the RCV Disaster Coordinator confirmed to the Daily Post.

Schools in safe zones are closed and are being used as evacuation centers, including community halls to accommodate needy communities.

Around 600 evacuees are currently residing in five evacuation centers in the east being Lolobuebue, Vureas School, Torgil Rural Training Center, Ambae Bulu School and Lini Center, a local on east Ambae reported yesterday.

Villagers from south and north Ambae have been relocated to the east.

Others from northwest were relocated to safe places in the west, such as Wahala and Ndui Ndui.One of the village near the volcano where volcanic projectiles fall regularly is Vai Ngalapo.

The PENAMA Provincial Government Council (PPGC), in partnership and NDMO are acting on behalf of the government to respond to the event.

The Acting Secretary General of PPGC is coordinating the PENAMA Emergency Operations Centre supported by other government departments as education and health and locally based humanitarian organizations as Red Cross , Save the Children Vanuatu and police.

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