Volcanic activity on the island of Ambae this year has caused the Vanuatu government to declare a state of emergency. The first evacuation of Ambae residents occurred in September 2017. Since then, continuous volcanic activity has resulted in the permanent relocation of the entire population of approximately 10,000.
Living on the verge of potentially catastrophic, geological events for generations has endowed the people of Vanuatu with an innate resilience and an enduring capacity to balance uncertainty with routine. For the displaced people of Ambae, water, sanitation and hygiene needs remain high on the list of priorities. If anything, communities are more vulnerable to disease due to overcrowding, inadequate toilets, and poor sanitation practices.