29 April 2018
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has delivered 23 tonnes of emergency supplies for Vanuatu’s volcano evacuees in response to a request from their government.
The supplies, from the emergency stores of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), were flown this weekend to the main logistics hub in Luganville on Espiritu Santo Island by Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing B757-2K2, and C-130H(NZ) Hercules aircraft. They included 1000 hygiene kits, 400 tarpaulins, 300 mother-and-infant kits and 200 shelter toolkits.
“We have been working with MFAT to support those affected by the Ambae Island volcano’s ongoing eruption and are ready to give further assistance should the Vanuatu Government require it,” Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said.
“The relief supplies we have delivered seek to meet the basic needs for clean water, sanitation and shelter of people displaced by the volcano.”
More relief supplies, including water tanks, rainwater harvesting kits, food and water, were being transported to Vanuatu on Royal New Zealand Navy ship HMNZS Canterbury, Major General Gall said.
Ambae Island is home to about 11,000 people. The island’s Manaro Voui volcano began erupting last September, causing a short-term evacuation. Volcanic activity intensified in March, prompting Vanuatu authorities to raise the alert level to three of five, declare a state of emergency and encourage residents to evacuate.
The NZDF has conducted two aerial surveys of Manaro Voui in the past six months, to help Vanuatu authorities track the level of its eruption. It also delivered 14 tonnes of supplies following the mass evacuation from Ambae Island in September.
New Zealand aid for Vanuatu’s volcano evacuees included:
• 1000 hygiene kits
• 400 tarpaulins
• 300 mother-and-infant kits
• 200 shelter toolkits
• 7 10-litre collapsible water containers