MANILA, PHILIPPINES (24 September 2018) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Vanuatu today signed a $500,000 grant agreement to support the second Vanuatu Manaro Volcano Disaster Response Project. Up to $150,000 of the amount can be used for emergency and humanitarian costs, which the government has incurred to date in response to the disaster. 

The agreement was signed by Executive Director Mr. In-Chang Song representing Vanuatu on the ADB Board of Directors and ADB Pacific Department Director General Ms. Carmela Locsin at a ceremony at ADB headquarters. 

Since September 2017, multiple volcanic eruptions on Ambae Island, Penama Province, have caused the mass evacuation of the island’s entire population of 11,000 people. To date, the government has succeeded in relocating more than 2,600 displaced Ambaeans to Maewo, while an estimated 6,000 people have moved to Santo. 

“The project is being closely coordinated with our development partners,” said Ms. Locsin. “The grant will help fund life-preserving services such as medical kits, food, and bottled drinking water; water purification and sanitation systems; as well as emergency and transitory shelter and personal hygiene kits. 

            The grant is provided by the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, a special fund designed to provide support to ADB developing member countries impacted by a major natural disaster.

            The volcanic disaster has caused severe ash fall and acid rain, resulting in defoliated trees, buried crops, damaged houses, and contaminated water supplies. These impacts have led to food and water insecurity and devastated livelihoods. The government has faced challenges providing assistance to Ambae residents as many have relocated to locations without dedicated government support.

In December 2017, ADB provided a $200,000 grant to the Government of Vanuatu in the wake of volcanic eruptions on Ambae. The grant was used for repatriation costs and related expenses as residents went back to Ambae two months after their evacuation from the island in September 2017, and supplemented the assistance provided by the government and other development partners.   

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.

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