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Scientists to assess plan to relocate islanders

By Glenda Shing PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Dec. 24, 2010) – The Natural Disaster Management Office (NDMO) will be conducting an assessment on Gaua Island early next year.

[PIR editor’s note: Gaua is the largest island of the Banks Islands in Torba, the northernmost Province of Vanuatu.]

The assessment will be done following the latest volcano alert bulletin for Gaua, issued by Geo-hazards, which reported that the alert level of the Gaua volcano has been lowered from level two to level one.

Therefore, the assessment that would be carried out would determine whether it is safe to re-locate the people from the western part of the island to the east, after they were advised to evacuate their area due to continuous eruptions at the beginning of this year.

The assessment would be covering areas of environment, water, and local crops ensuring they are safe before the people could return back to their place.

Other aspects that the assessment would target includes areas such as, how to re-locate the people, whether there would be enough food or not, whether the shelters are safe to use, what sort of transport to use, and how much does the re-location of people would cost, to name a few.

Peter Korisa, Research & Planning officer at NDMO said they are currently preparing the assessment guideline known as the ‘Terms of Reference’ (TOR’s).

He explained the TOR should be finished by next week, and probably early next year, the assessment would be carried out.

The funding for the assessment would be made possible through the Government, after a clear plan on the assessment is issued.

The government has allocated Vt50million while the aid partners assisted with around 100 million-vatu [US$1 million], however, all the money had been exhausted already during the Gaua volcanic activities.

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