Vanuatu’s Ambae Emergency: a Locally-led Evacuation

26 January 2018
Logistics Preparedness in the Pacific

Logistics Preparedness in the Pacific

“It was hands-on and operational. A great example of team work” – Alan Johnson, WFP Logistics Officer

In September 2017, the official alert of Vanuatu’s Manaro Voui Volcano was raised from level three to level four, triggering a state of emergency in the country, and forcing Ambae Island’s residential population of approximately 10,000 to flee their homes. The World Food Programme, as the lead agency of the Logistics Cluster, was requested to support response efforts by the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) to provide guidance during emergency logistics operations.

Humanitarian Logistics in the Pacific

Ambae Operations: Meet Vanuatu’s Provincial Logistic Cluster

Based north-west of the country’s capital Port Vila, Ambae is more closely situated to Santo - Vanuatu’s biggest island. The emergency response in September marked the first trigger of the Santo Provincial Logistics Cluster, with the team forming an integral component of the government-led operation. Provincial team activities spanned the entire operation and consisted of needs assessments, facilitation of transport, warehousing and distribution, as well as assisting with initial evacuations right through to repatriation efforts supported by FRANZ (France, New Zealand and Australia) partners. Throughout the evacuation, a WFP Logistics Officer also provided advice on working with warehouse staff on daily inventory checks and stock cards, ensuring the needs of different technical clusters are met, as well as supporting teams at ports and airfields on distributions.

The Provincial Santo Logistics Cluster is made up of representatives from the police, Vanuatu Military Forces, the Red Cross, then NDMO, the Provincial Disaster Management Office (PDMO), as well as the Bureau of Statistics, Lands, Tourism and Maritime. The operation undertaken by the Logistics Cluster team is an illustration of localizing emergency relief efforts in the region, to ensure a timely and coordinated response, and importantly, enhance locally-led logistics systems and procedures.

“It was great to be able to utilize local capacity for a local response. It was the first time the Santo team had worked on an emergency of this scale, and we look forward to developing our logistics capacity for operational readiness moving forward” – Harry Nalau, Logistics Cluster Lead in Santo.

Logistics Cluster in the Pacific

Discussion on the Ambae Emergency Evacuation Response at the After-Action Review

Learning from Ambae
A Logistics Cluster representative attended the After-Action Review, and will use the lessons learned from Ambae to further integrate localized approaches into future operations across the region.