3 Oct 2017

More medical help needed for Vanuatu's volcano evacuees

6:21 pm on 3 October 2017

Some $250,000 worth of relief supplies from New Zealand has landed in Vanuatu, but a local hospital warns more medical staff are needed.

It's estimated there are more than 5200 people registered in 36 evacuation centres in the provincial centre of Luganville, a town with a population of about 14,000.

The final boatload of evacuees from Ambae island is expected to arrive later this afternoon.

The superintendent at the local hospital, Andy Ilo, said its resources were being tested.

He said the maternity ward in particular was at 72 percent capacity and all other wards were all already half full.

He said normally the wards were no more than 30 percent full.

"We will need more number of doctors and we've got assurance that five are already on their way so we'll have 10 extra doctors.

"On the nurses, we have talked with the Penama provincial health administrators that we have our nurses from Penama who have come in with their patients and their relatives."

Vanuatu struggling with Ambae mass evacuation

The volcano on Ambae Photo: RNZ / YouTube

International assistance arrives

Meanwhile, the provincial emergency operations centre has been a hive of activity today as international assistance begins to arrive.

Vanuatu emergency operations centre

The Vanuatu emergency operations centre was a hive or activity this morning Photo: RNZ/ Koroi Hawkins

A New Zealand Defence Force C130 Hercules has landed at Pekoa International Airport on Espirutu Santo with $250,000 worth of relief supplies on board.

The supplies are in response to a direct request from Vanuatu to New Zealand.

They include 800 tarpaulins, 800 hygiene kits, 200 mother-and-baby kits, and five generators.

RNZAF Hercules delivers aid supplies to Vanuatu volcano evacuees

RNZAF Hercules delivers aid supplies to Vanuatu volcano evacuees Photo: RNZI/Koroi Hawkins

There were also reports of a possible visit from the Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai today.

This is all a far cry from yesterday when evacuees were not given their breakfast until midday.

A provincial disaster meeting is due to take place in the next hours.

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