The Australian Defence Force’s commitment to humanitarian assistance in Vanuatu after the island of Ambae was evacuated because of a volcanic-eruption treat has officially ended.
CAPTION: A local boy on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu greets sailors and soldiers from HMAS Choules during Operation Vanuatu Assist 2017. Photo by Able Seaman Jake Badaior.
Operation Vanuatu Assist 2017 was the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to a wider humanitarian-assistance and disaster-relief (HADR) mission led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in support to the government of Vanuatu.
The movement of HMAS Choules under VA17 followed a formal request by the government of Vanuatu for Australian support in achieving the full-scale evacuation of Ambae’s 11,000 residents.
A Royal Australian Navy MRH90 Taipan helicopter also assisted by delivering representatives from Australia, New Zealand and local government officials to islands throughout Vanuatu to help with the aid delivery.
Tonnes of stores were delivered ashore by amphibious landing to Maewo and Pentecost islands from HMAS Choules. Both islands were temporary homes to thousands of evacuees from Ambae.
At time of writing there has been no news of an eruption on Ambae or any indication as to when residents will be allowed to return to their homes.
In fact, it’s probably fair to say there has been no news at all out of Vanuatu or the ADF for more than a week.
Even the caption on the above video which declared “Humanitarian aid delivery completed in Vanuatu” was a copy-and-paste, in future tense, from the start of the mission.