H2H Network Strengthens Local Vanuatu Cyclone Response Amid Pandemic

News and Press Release
Originally published

H2H Network Strengthens Local Vanuatu Cyclone Response Amid Pandemic

GENEVA, 27 MAY 2020 – H2H Network supports tropical cyclone recovery in Vanuatu with a cohesive package of services focused on community engagement and supply chain needs.

The H2H Network’s humanitarian support package for Vanuatu provides humanitarian agencies and local civil society organizations much-needed technical and specialist services, helping residents of the Pacific nation recover from the devastating passage of a category-5 storm on 6 April. Cyclone Harold was the strongest storm ever to hit Vanuatu’s biggest island, Espiritu Santo, damaging up to 70 percent of buildings in Luganville, the nation’s second-largest town. A month earlier, Vanuatu’s government had declared a national emergency due to Covid-19, complicating disaster response efforts by severely restricting international travel, trade and transfer of goods. The H2H Network was able to rapidly fund independent, expert and specialist service-providers who were already in the country.

Rebecca Petras, the Network’s Director (interim), said: “H2H Network members employ skilled practitioners to provide vital support and services to local agencies and humanitarians leading their own responses. In the era of Covid-19, this global-yet-local model of humanitarian-to-humanitarian agencies will become even more important. In the case of Vanuatu, where international travel is currently prohibited, it was possible for the network to increase funding for two member agencies that were already working in country so that they can speed the recovery despite Covid-19 restrictions.” The network activates its funds for its members to respond to emergencies as part of a collective H2H service package. In Vanuatu, the H2H Network service package focused on lifesaving information-sharing for communities and mobilisation of existing local manufacturing capabilities to increase access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities. The information and services are being provided in a way that fits the government’s Covid-19 guidelines and principles. In shaping the service package, the H2H Network consulted with humanitarians already operational in-country and experts based in international agencies.

Luke Johnston, Pacific Lead at Field Ready, one of the member agencies funded by the network, said, "Tropical Cyclone Harold has shown once again how vulnerable Vanuatu is to natural disaster.

The response so far has been highly localized, which is encouraging. Field Ready is helping to localize the response by making essential supplies such as improved buckets and latrine systems as close to the affected areas as possible -- which is important in a place where supply chains are so challenging even at the best of times. We are very proud to be members of the H2H Network, and grateful for this important activation of its response fund."

The H2H Network is an innovative collaboration of 55 humanitarian agencies that provide services to support humanitarian and emergency action. The Network’s members offer specialist services, developed and available to all humanitarian responders, that address crosscutting issues to help overall response be more effective, of higher quality, and more efficient.

The H2H Network is supported by UK aid from the UK government and hosted by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC). Notes Marian Casey-Maslen, Executive Director of H2H Network member CDAC Network, said: “The CDAC Network is delighted to have been selected as an H2H Network partner in supporting field responders in Vanuatu following the devastation caused by Cyclone Harold. We aim to ensure affected communities, and in particular, women in those communities, receive accurate, timely and relevant information from sources they trust, so they themselves can make decisions about how best to rebuild their lives. Working in cooperation with the National Disaster Management Authority and the Communications and Community Engagement (CCE) Sub-Cluster, we are pleased to be continuing our partnership with CARE Vanuatu and their partners on this response.” Organizations funded in this response are the following H2H Network members:

• CDAC Network

• Field Ready


Helen Kearney: Head of Network Development, H2H Network Phone: +33 6 60 39 22 90 Email:;