Army brings water to Vanuatu village

The Emorwerik team advertised the Army’s work with its artwork on the tank.             Photo by Bill Simpson

The Emorwerik team advertised the Army’s work with its artwork on the tank. Photo by Bill Simpson


Two-month construction project enables villagers to store healthy water.

A 13-member team from The Salvation Army Tarrawanna (New South Wales, Australia) Corps spent September and October in Emorwerik, Vanuatu, constructing a 2,300-gallon concrete water tank.

Led by Lt. Matthew Moore and group leaders Paul and Emma Mather, the group consisted of five high school students, a school chaplain, a health worker, a plumber and two retirees.

The Republic of Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean, is located east of northern Australia, near New Guinea. Emorwerik, a village of about 250 people, is accessible only via a rough dirt road about 1.5 miles into the bush. Homes constructed of concrete, tin or bush material are scattered throughout the terrain.

While adult members of the team paid their own airfares, accommodation and living expenses, the corps and individual church members sponsored the teens. The Army and Corrimal Rotary Club contributed to the cost of building materials. The group also donated books and sporting equipment to the local school, where the team also volunteered.

The Tarrawanna Corps arranged the project through Youth With A Mission, which has a base near Port Vila, Vanuatu’s capital city. Team members stayed at the base, traveling up to an hour each day to and from the construction site on the back of an open truck along potholed roads and dirt bush tracks.

Moore said the water tank has lasting value in the village community.

‘‘For the first time, these people will have a guaranteed storage of fresh water. Until now, they have collected their fresh water whenever it rained in buckets, cans and anything else they could find,” Moore said. “Now, they will be able to turn on a tap at the tank and get instant, fresh drinking water…It will also enormously assist their health. They won’t have to rely on water for drinking from a well, which is of questionable quality.”

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