Vanuatu chiefs agree on resettlement

Wednesday May 02, 2018 Written by Published in Regional

VANUATU – The Council of Chiefs on Vanuatu’s Santo island has reportedly agreed to resettle 11,000 people from volcanically active Ambae.


Ambae’s Manaro Voui crater is at alert level three of five, posing a threat to the health of the island’s inhabitants, who are being encouraged by the government to evacuate.

The Vanuatu Daily Post has reported Ambae’s paramount chief, John Tarilama, requested the land from Santo’s council during a traditional ceremony organised by the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs.

Chief Tarilama told the newspaper the chair of Santo’s Tabwemasana Council agreed to the request and was writing a letter to the government to grant it the right to start the process.

Internal affairs minister Andrew Napuat said a government request for land for the people of Ambae had prompted a good response from neighbouring islands Santo, Maewo and Pentecost.

But ash fall from Ambae was also affecting Maewo and Pentecost which were not large enough to accomodate his people, Chief Tarilama said.

A proposed site on Santo where the people of Ambae could be resettled was big enough for all 11,000, the chief said.

“Even I personally went to see the potential land boundary which is a large flat area of land and I was happy with it. It has enough place to accommodate the people of North, South, East and West Ambae in their respective areas,”Chief Tarilama said.

Meanwhile, volcanologists monitoring the eruption on Ambae said it was likely to ease with ash fall on the island reported to have reduced.

The Vanuatu Geohazards department is monitoring five other active volcanos, setting alert level two for the volcano on Lopevi island.

The threat to life on Lopevi is minimal following mass evacuations in 1939 and 1960.

This week New Zealand has delivered 23 tonnes of emergency aid for Vanuatu’s volcano evacuees.

The supplies included hygiene kits, tarpaulins, mother-and-infant kits and shelter toolkits.

The New Zealand Defence Force flew the supplies at the weekend into the main logistics hub in Luganville on the island of Santo.

The Defence Force said more supplies including water tanks, rainwater harvesting kits, food and water are being transported to Vanuatu on the HMNZS Canterbury.          - RNZI/PNC

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