Yesterday, the government of Vanuatu received another Chinese cash donation to support the evacuation of the island of Ambae.
Following a meeting between a ministerial delegation and China's special envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum, Du Qiwen, an additional US $500,000 was donated to the government of Vanuatu by the Chinese embassy in Port Vila. This brings the total cash assistance provided by China to the Ambae evacuation effort to US $900,000 or about VT 90 million.
Mr Qiwen's remarks underlined that China would always respond quickly to provide assistance to the people of Vanuatu when they are in need.
Acting Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Nirua accepted the gift on behalf of the government, and took the opportunity to laud China for its attentive and respectful relationship, adding that the people of Vanuatu are 'very lucky to have China as a friend'.
Mr Nirua insisted that the evacuation effort was proceeding smoothly.
One community member who has been working for months to support both this evacuation the previous emergency wrote to the Daily Post to question the wisdom of the Council of Ministers' decision to resettle the majority of Ambaeans on Maewo.
"The people are very greatly appreciated for the generous offer of land by people of Maewo, but people of Ambae can not go there knowing there are no housing, no clinics, no shops, no banks to build new life for 11,000 people."
It is not clear how many people in total will be required to move, but preliminary estimates indicate that not less than 600 people's homes have been rendered uninhabitable by ashfall and related volcanic activity.
The evacuation is expected to take months, and Ambae's continued volcanic unrest has significant implications on government policy making into the mid-term at least.