28 Sep 2017

NZ sends supplies, scientists to Vanuatu

11:36 pm on 28 September 2017

New Zealand has given $NZ45,000 (Vatu 3.5 million) worth of water, sanitation and hygiene kits to those affected by the eruptions on Vanuatu's Ambae Island.

Supplies from New Zealand are unloaded in Vanuatu.

Supplies from New Zealand are unloaded in Vanuatu. Photo: Supplied

Evacuations to nearby Pentecost Island have started for the 11,000 residents.

The New Zealand High Commission at Port Vila said two GNS volcanologists would travel to Vanuatu tomorrow to further support the Geohazards Department with their assessments.

They said New Zealand would also provide up to $51,000 of emergency funding to help with the immediate response to the state of emergency.

The government announced everyone will need to evacuate by next Friday following threats from the Manaro volcano.

Vanuatu Daily Post's Dan McGarry told Checkpoint moving supplies to the island would be a daunting process.

"We are very limited in the resources that we can bring to bear.

"As you can imagine air transport is just a non-starter in this scenario so we're stuck with maritime solutions."

McGarry said a barge would take up to four hours to reach Pentecost and could take up to 200 people at a time.

Complete exodus ordered on Vanuatu island Ambae

Complete exodus ordered on Vanuatu island Ambae Photo: RNZ / YouTube

He said it would take a long time to get barges to Ambae Island in the first place.

New Zealand has not been asked to assist with moving people off the island.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Defence Force did a surveillance flight this week and emergency relief supplies held in-country had been released.

The Ministry said it would work with Vanuatu to provide assistance if requested.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs