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The Vanuatu Government will provide transport for the remaining volcano affected families on Ambae who prefer to go to Santo.
The families who are planning to secure land on Santo are advised to indicate their decision to the Penama Provincial Disaster Authority or the Senior Coordination and Communication Liaison Office of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Philip Meto, who is coordinating the disaster operation at west Ambae.
The Council of Ministers (COM) in its latest meeting agreed for the government to support them with sea transport from Ambae to Santo but once they reach there, they will have to meet land transport cost and earn their livelihoods at their own costs, Meto told Daily Post.
Asked if the government will reimburse families who had previously fled on their own private arrangements since the first major ash fall early this year, the senior NDMO officer replied: “Last week’s COM decision covered only remaining families on Ambae”.
During the first state of emergency declaration, the government declared voluntary off-island evacuation. However, the government made it clear then that it will help to move people who want to move to the approved evacuation sites on Maewo.
Some families made their own decision to board ships to Santo.
Others choose not to follow the recent mandatory evacuation order and have paid for their own transport costs.
They will be receiving support from families and non-government organisations (NGO’s) as the government is now concentrating on taking care of the evacuees on Maewo, said the Manager of Operations at NDMO, Peter Korisa.
NGOs which are known in Vanuatu for their role in disasters are all cooperating with the government, through the existing cluster mechanism to deliver relief to victims.
Under the coordinating system, NGOs, donor countries, individuals and communities wanting to lend a hand to disaster victims on Ambae has to pass through NDMO.
Meanwhile, concerns have been shared by the citizens of Ambae, as disaster victims that their rights to decide where to settle has been neglected. They said they prefer to make their second home on Santo, instead of Maewo.
The decision to move people either to Maewo or Pentecost in Penama Province was approved by COM. The decision is being facilitated by the Penama Provincial Government Council (PPGC) with the support of the government.
Custom ceremonies were performed between the Penama Provincial leaders and chiefs and land owners on Maewo before evacuation....
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS
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