On 18th March 2018 the Manaro volcano on the island of Ambae erupted and for the second time in six months triggered a state of emergency and mass evacuations of the population. The heavy outpourings of ash and gas has resulted in hazards of acid rain, flash floods, loss of food and water sources, and damage to infrastructure and human health. Large portions of the island were significantly impacted, all education institutions and key government services were closed and staff and students evacuated to other islands.
On Thursday 26th July Vanutu’s Council of Ministers held an extraordinary meeting to extend the state of emergency and to revise the previous voluntary evacuation to a compulsory evacuation. Those self-evacuating to the island of Santo did not receive any official government support and humanitarian agencies were initially discouraged from responding on Santo, in favour of the official government response on Maewo. Unfortunately the majority of the displaced communities (~8,700ppl) evacuated to Santo. Most people are still living in temporary shelters in and around host communities. It is estimated that the informal and government supported relocations have impacted approximately 13% of Vanuatu’s population.