Today we announce that the Australian Government is sending humanitarian assistance to Vanuatu in the face of a volcanic eruption threat on Ambae Island.
HMAS Choules departed Australia this morning, to help the Government of Vanuatu evacuate the 11,000 residents on Ambae Island. On board are specialists and supplies to assist with the evacuation as well as a landing craft.
HMAS Choules is expected to reach Vanuatu in the middle of next week. It will join a fleet of ships including ferries and commercial vessels, which have begun moving people to nearby islands. A team of Australian humanitarian and military experts will arrive in Vanuatu today.
Australia has also committed $250,000 to provide supplies including food, water, shelter and hygiene kits, fund aerial surveillance of affected areas, and help the Vanuatu police manage the movement of displaced people.
The Australian Defence Force has Royal Australian Air Force aircraft, Army and Navy helicopters, and Army engineering equipment and personnel on stand-by.
We are working in close partnership with the Government of Vanuatu and our FRANZ partners, New Zealand and France. We stand ready to offer further assistance as required.