Emergency appeal launched for Vanuatu volcano evacuees

Emergency appeal launched for Vanuatu volcano evacuees

Anglican Missions is launching an Emergency Appeal in support of the Anglican Church of Melanesia and its work in assisting with the evacuation of the people of Ambae Island, Vanuatu.

Monaro Volcano on Ambae Island, Vanuatu, began emitting ash and volcanic gas last weekend triggering concerns of an imminent eruption.  The Government of Vanuatu declared a state of emergency on 26 September and 7,000 people were evacuated to areas of lower risk. As risks intensified, however, the Government has now ordered the evacuation of all 11,000 residents to the nearby islands of Santo, Pentecost, Malekula and Maewo.  The Government hopes to have everyone off the island by the end of next week. Although the volcano has been active since 2005, the government has never previously had to evacuate the island.

The Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACoM) is at the forefront of the response and making clergy, staff, churches and facilities available. Moving such a large number of people and then ensuring they have shelter, food and water, is a significant challenge.  The last time something like this happened in Vanuatu was in 2005 and schools and churches were pressed into use as de-facto evacuation centres. The crisis went on for many months and led to considerable hardship for both evacuated and host communities.

ACoM is particularly involved in providing food and water to those most in need and will support the Government as it coordinates the evacuation.

ACoM has asked Anglican Missions and others for support to assist with this immediate response and we join the Anglican Board of Missions (Australia), Anglican Overseas Aid (Australia) and Episcopal Relief and Development (USA) to provide funds to support the Church in Melanesia in its response to the evacuation.

Funding from Anglican Missions will be used to procure emergency response items including food and water and to help equip churches and church facilities as they are used as evacuation centres.

You can read the New Zealand Herald‘s article on the situation here.

Your prayers for the people of Vanuatu are very much appreciated.  If you or your parish would like donate to this appeal, please click here to access the Anglican Missions website.

Any queries can be made to the Anglican Missions office, either by email to info@angmissions.org.nz or by phone on 04 473 5172.

Photo: Courtesy RNZ.