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Wendy, Andrew and their 11-year-old son Deejay have been living on the island of Maewo, Vanuatu, for the last 8 months. They, along with thousands of other families, were forced to evacuate their home on Ambae after the island’s volcano erupted. The eruption sent ash and rock into the sky, and caused flash mudslides and flooding that destroyed everything in its path – including Wendy, Andrew and Deejay’s home.
Andrew remembers waking to loud cracking sounds in the dead of night. Frantically, he and Wendy rushed to get Deejay and their other children out of bed and out of the house, seeking safety on top of a nearby hillside. They were accompanied by the family’s trusty dog Follow – named because ever since she was a puppy she has followed the family everywhere they go.
In the morning the family got their first glimpse of the devastation. Wendy and the children couldn’t help but cry at the sight of their entire lives destroyed.
Vanuatu Red Cross were first on the scene to help the family after they made their way down the hill. The emergency response teams, supported by Australian Red Cross, helped people get to safety, provided shelter and essential aid items, and ultimately evacuated everyone off the island. On Maewo, they’ve continued to provide essential support, helping families set up their emergency shelters, providing clean drinking water, hygiene kits, kitchen kits, and tools like solar powered lamps.