(Port Vila, 24 March 2015) The Honorable Prime Minister of Vanuatu Joe Natuman and the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Vanuatu Ms. Osnat Lubrani launched a humanitarian response Flash Appeal today in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Pam.
Tropical Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu 11 days ago as a Category 5, causing widespread damage across the archipelago. It destroyed infrastructure, homes and livelihoods in a country where more than 70 per cent of the population relies on subsistence agriculture. Government-led joint assessments identified 166,000 people in urgent need of life-saving assistance.
The Flash Appeal seeks US$29.9 million to ensure that initial support provided by the Government, donors and humanitarian partners can be sustained to cover the needs of affected people until 24 June 2015. This includes the provision of life-saving assistance in four priority areas: water, food, shelter and health care, with other key areas including protection for vulnerable groups and assistance to return children to school.
The appeal amount reflects both the scale of the need, and the significant logistical challenges linked to providing an effective large-scale humanitarian response in a remote Pacific island country.
While valuable Government and community preparedness activities minimized the loss of life, critical needs remain. Around 75,000 people are in need of shelter and 110,000 people do not have access to safe drinking water.
“The people affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam face serious immediate risks to their health and wellbeing, as well as threats to their livelihoods and future resilience to disasters,” Ms. Lubrani said. “Today we stand with the Government of Vanuatu and urgently seek the support of the international community at a time of immense need.”
Working in close collaboration with the Government, which is leading response operations in each of the affected areas, the humanitarian community in Vanuatu has identified ten sectors on which to focus for the coming three months.
“Although the people of Vanuatu have shown immense resilience and strength at this difficult time, more urgent assistance is required to ensure that Vanuatu can focus on recovering from this disaster – and that potentially life-threatening impacts from disease, food insecurity and a lack of shelter can be avoided,” Ms. Lubrani said.
Ms. Lubrani also commended the Government for its leadership and commitment to equitable, effective and accountable distribution of humanitarian relief and future rebuilding efforts.
The Flash Appeal for Vanuatu presents a unified set of funding needs to donors in each sector and provides a plan and concise overview of urgent life-saving needs, supporting long-term recovery for the affected population.
For further information, please contact:
Karina Coates, OCHA Regional Office for the Pacific, Suva: +679 777 1433, email@example.com
Orla Fagan, OCHA Regional Office for Asia Pacific, Bangkok: +66 89 9447623, firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional information is also available on the following websites:
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.