Image from bbc.com
Disaster Aid USA and its International Partners including Disaster Aid Australia, reponded to what has been described as the worst storm to hit the Pacific.
Vanautu is one of the worlds least developed countries with two-thirds of the population living from agriculture. Nearly three quarters of the population live in rural areas or remote islands and this will be a complicating factor for any relief effort.
With winds of up to 300km/h the storm resulted in at least 3,300 people being displaced and over 19,000 households in need of essential aid.
The shortage of drinking water was defined as critical.
Over 90% of the buildings have been destroyed.
As Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale said “”After all the development we have done for the last couple of years and this big cyclone came and just destroyed all the infrastructure the government has built. Completely destroyed.”
Disaster Aid International deployed two members of our Disaster Aid Response Team to Vanuatu. Wayne (USA) and Dianne Holland (Australia)
Dianne and Wayne worked closely with members of the two Rotary Clubs, Port Vila and Vanuatu Grass Roots; and also with ProMedical (an arm of local NGO, the Vanuatu Emergency Medical Services Association (VEMSA) committee).
Following discussions with the affected communities and other aid organisations, the assessment confirmed. the needs as
- Clean water.
- Repair replacement of Homes
A number of Sawyer filters have been distributed, each sufficient to keep a large family supplied with clean water for several years.
The team also assessed the most effective places to site Skyhydrants which will provide clean water for whole communities.
We started by arranging for the local supply of over 100 Home Repair Kits and tarpaulins.
Also following a meeting with former PM Barak Sope (an MP for 25 years and now a respected community elder) permission was gained to use fallen trees for building materials.
The trees were milled, in a previously abandoned sawmill that was rebuilt with Disaster Aid funds.
Wayne and Dianne with Barak Sope