Criticism of Vanuatu govt aid continues as activity ramps up
As the cyclone relief effort enters it's second week, the Vanuatu government's response has continued to receive criticism.
As the cyclone relief effort enters its second week, the Vanuatu government's response has continued to receive criticism.
For its part, the government says it has had to make sure it had enough resources to cater for the needs of the people most in need.
Koro Vaka'uta reports.
Richard Henderson is a volunteer worker from New Zealand who lives on the island of Ambrym in Malampa province.
He says thousands of people are waiting for their needs to be met.
RICHARD HENDERSON: Decisions are taking longer to be made then what they probably need to be made. It's relatively clear what the information is and that there is needs. There's islands that don't have water. There's islands that are pretty much out of food and those islands should have pretty much had aid by now.
A disaster committee member on Emae, in the Shepherds, says people are continuing to question the speed at which the government is providing aid.
Richard Jenery says 80 percent of the people there are without shelter.
He says while supplies have been slow to arrive, there have been numerous assessments carried out.
RICHARD JENERY: The village people are asking themselves, what are we going to say? We have already given them information about our households. We are all confused. You have three organisations, three people coming in from Vila taking information and we are asking ourselves, are we going to receive help apart from questioning? Apart from pictures?
But government spokesperson Kiery Manassah says the government has been methodical in its movements.
KIERY MANASSAH: There were some organisations doing their own assessments which would probably explain the different assessments. At the NDMO we started with five teams going out and all the information has been gathered and put into one central distribution system and we are following that now.
Mr Manassah says the government has food supplies to last up to three weeks and they are currently being distributed.
He says last week, there weren't enough supplies to send out but the situation has now changed.
KIERY MANASSAH: We have at least 20 containers of food supplies. We have enough rations now to last the next 20 days. We're very confident that the people that have been affected will be receiving assistance. Since yesterday a lot of the outlying islands have received assistance. They loaded one of the local boats here to be traveling to Tanna and Erromango so they should be receiving assistance.
Alice Clements from the aid agency UNICEF agrees that supplies are now moving thick and fast.
ALICE CLEMENTS: The skies above Port Vila and indeed over all of Vanuatu are absolutely busy with planes and light aircraft and things like Hercules and C-130 aircraft getting supplies to the outer islands and to those that need it most. If you go down to the wharf you'll see boats shuffling back and forth to the outer islands, all of them loaded with supplies.
The Save the Children spokesperson on Tongoa Island in the shepherds, Ben Taura, says there is an air of anticipation there.
BEN TAURA: We have a ship coming in and we are mobilising the community to unload the ship and to do a safe storage for distribution of same kind to the community.
The Government says it allocated 860-thousand US dollars for the 20 day food rations and seedlings for crops but hopes the UN's World Food Programme will provide further assistance for the future.
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