Vanuatu: Volcanic Eruption OCHA Situation Report No. 2

Situation Report
Originally published
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2005/0218

OCHA Situation Report No. 2
Vanuatu - Volcanic Eruption

This situation report is based on information provided by the Government of Vanuatu and the UN Resident Coordinator's Office in Fiji.


1. Mt. Ambae volcano erupted on 27 November in Ambae Island of Vanuatu. Volcanic tremors continue to occur but the level of activity is moderate. At this moment there is no possibility of lahars. Volcanologists from New Zealand and French are expecting that this activity could last for the next week, eventually slowing down. If the activity would remain as it is now, an eruption could cause more dry ash and acid rain to fall over nearby villages.

2. According to the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) of Vanuatu, there has been no casualty so far. Villagers are moving to ten relocation centers in low-risk area of the island. The number of evacuees is 2,130 and the authorities expect between 5,000 -7,000 to be evacuated. Some of the communities have left Ambae for other islands.

National Response

3. The Government has not yet declared a state of emergency but a state of preparedness. The situation report released on 6 December by the NDMO stated that the Government had not issued any request for international assistance but identified potential needs such as water containers, water tanks, cooking utensils, food and shelter.

4. Although no major medical cases have been reported yet, the Ministry of Health has put on standby a team of doctors and nurses and has prepared medical supplies to be sent to Ambae. Research officers are on the island to identify wells to channel water to communities, as there is a shortage of water. Communities in the island are using up their local food crops. Families living in the capital, Port Vila, and other islands are sending food supplies.

International Assistance

5. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is supporting the Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS) and NGOs in providing water containers to the affected communities. Other international organizations are on standby. UNICEF has already dispatched 200 water containers through the VRCS for the relocation centers.

6. According to a report issued by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the VRCS has distributed 66 family kits, two water tanks and has prepared to send further 240 family kits.

7. OCHA is in close contact with the Government of Vanuatu, the UN Resident Coordinator's Office in Fiji and the Government of New Zealand and will revert with further information as it becomes available. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

A map of Vanuatu is at

Tel.: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:

Mr. Masaaki Nakagawa, direct Tel. +41-22-917 4034

Press contact:

(GVA) Ms. Byrs Elizabeth, direct Tel. +41-22-917 2653
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. + 1-917 367 5126

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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