Vila Times

Erromango communities got access to safe water supplies

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Around 2500 people in Erromango will access safer and more secure water supplies, thanks to the Ministry of Lands & Natural Resources and its partners, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and CARE, officially handing over repaired and improved water and sanitation infrastructure to communities across Erromango.

“The Government’s collaboration with its partners in the recovery phase post Cyclone Pam is underpinned by the principle of ‘Building Back Better,’ especially in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector,” stated Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu. “Sustainable and equitable access to safe and resilient water and sanitation supplies are the focus of the recovery programme.”

UNICEF Chief of Vanuatu Field Office, Andrew Parker, said, “Emergencies provide UNICEF and our partners the opportunity to build more resilient communities to ensure protection of vulnerable children and their families.” He added, “This is vital so that children under five are protected from threats posed by waterborne diseases.”

“New Zealand is pleased to support the delivery of safe water and sanitation to the people of Tafea, contributing to improved health and wellbeing,” said New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Georgina Roberts. “Improving access to safe water and sanitation for families and communities is part of New Zealand’s commitment to improving health outcomes in Vanuatu.”

The project helped communities set up water committees and empowered them with skills to manage and protect their community’s drinking water supply in the future. Thirty six committee members, including 18 women, were trained as plumbers, received a toolkit and a plumbers’ handbook to ensure communities are able to maintain their own water system.