Wash cluster response to Ambrym disaster

Map of Ambrym showing current volcanic activities.
Map of Ambrym showing current volcanic activities.

ON December 15, 2018, Ambrym volcano erupted and caused major damage, particularly in the area of South East.

Heavy volcanic activities triggered several earthquakes which had caused more damage to the livelihood of the people in Ambrym.

A massive amount of volcanic ash contaminated all water sources which consisted of mostly wells, rain water harvesting systems and surface water.

Safe drinking water is now a crucial necessity that is lacking on the island.

A direct gravity fed system in South East Ambrym has been badly damaged and the people are rapidly depleting the limited stock of water available in water tanks and wells that have however deemed unsafe or contaminated.

Many villages in South Eastern part of Ambrym are currently no go zones due to huge ground cracks caused by the earthquakes, these openings that pose high risks of soil inundation in the event of heavy rain fall.

Visible cracks from the earthquakes.
Visible cracks from the earthquakes.

The south easterly part of Ambrym has a total population of 800 people and 180 households.

These affected people are being relocated to safe zones where they will be temporarily hosted before moving into permanent relocation sites.

Ground coordination is led by NDMO in collaboration with Malampa Provincial government.

The WASH Cluster will respond to the WASH needs of the affected population of Ambrym to ensure they receive appropriate assistance.

This shall be a coordinated response between the Department of Water, Ministry of Health, WASH NGO partners, UNICEF and Red Cross.

The government through the Department of Water Resources will undertake central procurement of any equipment and consumables that require importation.

The DoWR will establish partnership agreements with UNICEF and WASH NGO members to facilitate rapid distribution and monitoring. The WASH cluster partners will coordinate their response effort jointly with the DoWR

The DoWR commits to directly respond to the needs 800+ population of Ambrym affected by volcanic ash fall as reported by the WASH assessment team.

Pipe leakage due to the earthquakes.
Pipe leakage due to the earthquakes.

Response Strategy Objectives

Objective 1: To minimise the risk of a diarrhoea outbreak or any other WASH related disease amongst the affected population.

Objective 2: To put in place robust and sustainable water system options for affected Ambrym communities who frequently experience adverse impact of drought and volcanic ash.

Objective 3: To ensure affected population in south east and North Ambrym have access to safe and drinking water at all times

The implementation of these activities requires collective support from all relevant agencies including NDMO, Department of Finance who will play critical role in terms of allocating funds and logistic support to dispatch all required materials from Vila to Ambrym.

A surge team of engineers from WASH partners will be on stand-by for deployment to support the Department of Water Resources ground operation team.