Life Expectancy questioned on Ambae
Ambaens who have decided to remain on their motherland despite the volcanic emissions, may indirectly risk threatening the average life expectancy of the country, not to mention their own.
The Word Health Organizations online metadata on Vanuatu’s life table is currently optimistic, with an annual average growth rate of 0.28% which reflects an increase of 71.9% in 2015 to 72.3% in 2017.
So, the million-dollar question would be, ‘Can Ambaen’s remain on the island, if so, will their health be at risk?’
The WHO Country Liaison Officer Dr. Jacob Kool answered: “Volcanoes don’t have serious health impact, mainly the worst impact is breathing in all those dust. There are some problems, but no dangers and critical health indicators, the ash and smoke will not make you sick right away.”
However, in the long-term, the exposed individuals will be more susceptible to attaining diseases such as acute/chronic bronchitis and asthma due to the ashfall inhalation.
Dr. Kool described the ideal candidate who might be able to survive on the island, although it will be far from a life of luxury – “It will give you some respiratory problems, but healthy people with strong lungs, they might be able to stay there, but it is not going to be comfortable plus you’ll be eating unhealthy food, also they will need access to good source of water, water will taste bad but they will have to drink it.”
Such rigid and crude conditions are entirely up to the people of Ambae to choose, whether to remain or not, but as positive as Dr. Kool was on staying, his candor painted a harsh lifestyle which could easily be avoided.
Managing Director of the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geo-Hazards Department and Volcanologist, Esline Garaebiti added – “Our message was clear, we telling people that there are risks on the island, that’s it, the risk is everything you can think of.”
The resident Volcanologist then refused to comment further, with fears of creating possible hysteria on the island of Ambae.
“I don’t comment on extreme situations like this because if I comment, people will start to panic, and I don’t want to do that,” Ms. Garaebiti said.