166,600 people affected
75,000 people in need of shelter
110,000 people without access to safe drinking water
US$29.9 million required
This document is produced by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in collaboration with humanitarian partners in support of the Government of Vanuatu. It covers the period from 24 March to 24 June 2015 and is issued on 24 March 2015.
VANUATU: AN OVERVIEW OF THE CRISIS
Tropical Cyclone (TC) Pam struck Vanuatu on the evening of 13 March at around 11.00 p.m. local time. Vanuatu is a country of more than 80 islands with a projected population of 270,000 people according to 2015 national statistics’ office calculations. The category 5 cyclone caused widespread damage across all six provinces of the archipelago – Malampa, Penama, Sanma, Shefa,
Tafea, and Torba. Tropical Cyclone Pam’s eye passed close to Efate Island in Sefa Province, where the capital Port Vila is located, with winds around 250 km/hr and gusts peaking at 320 km/hr.
An estimated 166,600 people have been affected by the cyclone – more than half the country’s population and 11 fatalities have been reported.
Early warning systems and the provision of evacuation centres by the Government of Vanuatu (GoV) have prevented a higher death toll.
Shefa and Tafea were the hardest hit provinces. In Tongoa, Emae and Erromango Islands, up to 90 per cent of shelters have been wiped out. In Tanna, 50 per cent of shelters have been destroyed. Roads are impassable as debris is still being cleared.
Water and food have been identified as the most urgently needed commodities for affected people.
According to estimates, about 65 per cent of the population in Shefa and Tafea provinces has no access to safe drinking water. The outer islands, particularly Tanna, are relying on water deliveries as groundwater sources are contaminated and rainwater harvesting systems have been destroyed.
In most areas, water sources have been exhausted and will dry up in a few days. Food and safe drinking water are also urgently needed to prevent the outbreak of disease.
Vanuatu’s population is highly reliant on subsistence farming for food security and livelihoods. The destruction of food gardens and loss of livestock leave households with no alternative food source.
In Tafea and Shefa Provinces all crops have been damaged or destroyed and current estimates indicate that current food sources will only last until 25 March.
The loss of food crops as well as coconut and banana plantations has destroyed the main source of income for the population. This will have a significant long term social and economic impact.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.