Tropical Cyclone Donna moved in a westerly direction passing north of the Vanuatu group within 50-100km the Torres islands in Torba Province as a Category 3 system.
The system continued west, before turning south, gathering strength to become a Category 5 cyclone and passed to the west of Sanma, Malmpa and Shefa. Tropical Cyclone Donna passed about 200km to the west of the islands of Vanuatu. The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) issued the all clear on Tuesday 9th May 2017.
Phase 1 activities
Three aircraft arranged by the NDMO departed Port Vila on Friday 12th May 2017 to transport assessment personnel & relief supplies and to undertake reconnaissance of affected areas. These flights were supported by France, Australia and New Zealand (FRANZ) partners.
The reconnaissance flight surveyed Santo (Sanma Province) and Malakula (Malampa Province). On return, the crew provided the NEOC with photographs and video footage which is currently being assessed.
The relief supply flight departed Santo carrying jerry cans, seeds, shelter kits, petrol and oil. These items were delivered to Torres which will be distributed by the WASH team with the Area Secretary Council. A helicopter was also used to assist with the transportation to surrounding islands.
A multi sectoral team of 8 assessment personnel also travelled to Torres to undertake assessments and gather information over three days. The flight that collected the returning team members was also used to transport additional supplies to Torres including 3 schools in a box, fishing gear and rations.
Most of the assessment team returned to Port Vila on Sunday 14th May 2017 and provided a briefing and written report to the NEOC the next day. They key findings and recommendations included:
There is sufficient food supply for another 2-3 weeks.
There is an increased risk of diarrhoea outbreak due to water contamination with some cases already reported.
Shelter support needed on Hiu Island.
Some schools have been badly damaged (including Robin Primary School in Loh).
Phase 2 activities
Based on this information, the NEOC worked with partners to source the needed supplies which were transported by the Vanuatu Patrol Boat ‘RVS Tukoro’ which was supported by the Australian Government. The vessel departed Port Vila on 16th May 2017 and will deliver supplies to Hiu, Metoma, Tegua, Loh and Toga Islands. Supplies included personal hygiene kits, tarpaulins, shelter kits, teacher tents, water kits, jerry cans and planting materials. The Provincial Disaster Office vessel from Sola will be taken to Torres to assist with relief operations. Reports were received from Hiu on Sunday 14th May 2017 regarding contaminated water and increased cases on diarrhoea. The NDMO sourced 200 cartons of water which was transported to Hiu by the French Navy Patrol Boat ‘La Gloriuese.’ The vessel departed Port Vila that afternoon and delivered the water to Hiu on 16th May 2017. The NDMO was also able to use a French military aircraft to for reconnaissance.
Two vessels departed Port Vila on Monday 15th May 2017 including the ‘Pacific Hope’ tasked by Ministry of Health carrying medical supplies and ‘Southern Cross’ tasked by Anglican Church carrying food. Both vessels will go to Loh and distribute supplies to various islands. In discussions with the Acting General Secretary, the NDMO Director has requested the use the Vanuatu Patrol Boat ‘RVS Tururoa’ to transport personnel to Santo to undertake assessments. This is being supported by the Australian Government and the Commissioner of Police has approved this request which is currently being planned.
An Inter Agency Meeting was held on Tuesday 16th May 2017 at the NEOC where the NDMO Director provided an update. A copy of the update presentation can be found using the link below: http://www.ndmo.gov.vu/resources/downloads/com_jaextmanager/category/22-tropical-cyclone-donna The Cluster Leads/Representatives also provided an update which is summarised overpage: