By: Brian Tete
The Council of Ministers had its 29th Ordinary meeting on Tuesday, 27th November 2018.
COM discussed the submission and made the following Decisions;
- 1. That the State-of-Emergency on Ambae will not be extended.
- 2. The Government will continue to provide assistance to all Ambae displaced population with emergency food on Maewo and Santo until 31 December 2018.
- 3. NGOs and other Actors to continue to provide assistance on Maewo and Santo based on priorities determined by the Government.
- 4. That the National Recovery Committee (NRC) will be the National Level focal point for Maewo and Pentecost, for Ambae volcano recovery coordination post 26 November 2018.
- 5. That the Penama Provincial Government (PPG) is the Provincial Level and Area Level focal point for Maewo and Pentecost, for Ambae volcano recovery coordination post 26 November 2018.
- 6. A multi sector assessment led by the NRC on Ambae Island, and at the locations where the Ambae displaced population have been relocated, shall be undertaken within 2 weeks to provide more information on the general situation on the ground before any Government Services can be restored. The Ministries of Climate Change, Internal Affairs, Lands, Agriculture, Health and Education are to be involved to determine the next steps with regards to management of the Recovery Transition Phase on Ambae taking into consideration all Social, Logistical and Infrastructure Implications. At the end of 2 weeks the NRC are instructed to report back to the Ministers of Climate Change, Internal Affairs, Lands, Agriculture, Health and Education who shall then present the Overall Report to the Council of Ministers on their Recommendations for a Way Forward.
- 7. One of the assessment teams to be led by the Vanuatu Police Force to return to Ambae to conduct assessments as well as to assist maintaining security and order. The assessment team will be accompanied by Staff of the Office of the Government Chief Information Office (OGCIO), Staff of Telecom Vanuatu and Staff of Digicel Vanuatu to conduct scoping on the restoration of Telecommunication Services on Ambae. The report of this assessment team will be part of the NRC report back to COM.
- 8. The Second Home policy continues to be maintained and the Maewo Response and Recovery Action Plan continues to be implemented.
- 9. Endorse WASH Recovery Plan for North Pentecost, costing 11,689,000 VT and this will be funded by the Emergency Fund.
- 10. The Loltong site assessment cost of 7,800,000 VT be funded by the Emergency Fund.
- 11. OGCIO to improve communications to Penama Provincial Government at Loltong on Pentecost Island.
12. With regards to the uncertainty of volcanic activity on Ambae that continues to make life unsafe on the island, the Council Of Ministers decides as follows;
- a. People should stay away from the active volcano on Ambae Island.
- b. Ambae people should not go back to Ambae Island.
- c. Ambae people should concentrate effort on restoring livelihoods at their Second Home site.
- d. Chiefs of Ambae will be held responsible for members of their communities that decide to return to Ambae of their own accord.
- e. Government Services will not move back to Ambae since the safety of Government workers from the volcano hazard activity cannot be guaranteed. The Government has decided not to put the lives of its workers at risk from the volcano hazard.
- f. Penama Provincial Government headquarters is relocated to Pentecost.
Vanuatu News Netwrok
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