Vila Times

Ambae repatriation: NDMO forces people to go back to the island

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According to the new reports, the repatriation process of 11,000 people back to Ambae island are not going very well, with NDMO’s staff rude behavior, lack of transportation and general intimidation of Amabae evacuees. The original decision of the PM Salwai to evacuate people from the Ambae is also questioned and called premature.

“A 65 years old person from the West Ambae which is the area mainly affected, said they were forced into the ships. They didn’t feel safe, they were intimidated by the NDMO staff. They pushed them into the ships. It was overcrowded, women and children literally rubbing shoulders. Uncomfortable would be an understatement,” Mavuku Tokona from Port Vila has said speaking to the Pacific Beat.

“And as the ship went off, it popped at the shore at night, there were just a grimmer of lights. There weren’t much transportation available to take them to the Community Center, so most of them had to travel by foot. Similar complaints have come from the North side of the island,” he added.

He also said that people from Ambae are now reluctant to go back there at the moment, but they are still going, “because there is an ultimatum placed by the Counsel of Ministers, that by the 27th of October any ambaeans left [not repatriated] will have to go back at their own expense.”

A number of people are also questioning the original decision to evacuate people from the Ambae in the first place, calling for a Commission of Inquiry.