Directors of NDMO and of MFA provided a briefing to the Extended PHT on 20 April. Immediate priorities are Communication/ETC, Shelter, Food Security and WASH. The biggest challenge are COVID19 restrictions. In-country, there are enough ships available to bring items to most affected areas and to carry out distributions. However, the importing of relief items is taking longer due to applicable COVID-19 protocols. Any personnel wanting to enter Vanuatu, needs to go into 14-day quarantine.
The biggest challenge for relaxing restrictions is the lack of capacity to do sufficient testing. As for the coordination, the Director of NDMO explained that the National Disaster Committee defines the policy directions, and the NDMO is the implementing body carrying out relief activities. The MFA, on the other hand, is the gateway for international assistance coming into the country.
Rehabilitation efforts are continuing throughout the most affected areas. In Luganville, the second biggest town in Vanuatu, water access has been restored in some areas, electricity has been partially restored (some 60%), and telecommunications reestablished.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security Cluster is due to release its Response Plan, although this has been delayed due to change in Government.
A new Government was formed on 20 April, with a number of changes to ministerial portfolios.
NDMO published first damage assessment data: in total 575 houses were destroyed and 1,919 houses damaged. The damage on agriculture is approximately FJD28m, with the Eastern Division hardest hit (FJD11,5m). The Education damage totals FJD7,8m. Overall, the hardest hit division was the Eastern Division, followed by Central and Western Divisions. The slightes impact thad the Northern Divison.
The Government is continuing with the distribution of relief items in the Central, Eastern and Western divisions.
As of 21 April, 1,310 people are sheltering in 105 evacuation centres in the Eastern and Central divisions. The eastern division has the highest number of people in evacuation centres with 1,116 evacuees in 92 evacuation centres. All evacuation centres in Northern and Western Divisions are now closed
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.