TC Pam Recovery Assessment Report - Appendix B - VRCS’s One Recovery plan - Tafea: Tanna (West)

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- Assessment undertaken: 16th - 25th of November 2015
- Report completed: 31st January 2016

Key assessment findings

Analysis and reporting Data, analysis and knowledge gained are primarily to be used internally for the planning of the bilateral recovery programme of VRCS and ARC. ARC and VRCS can mutually agree to share this data with other key partners for improved collaboration.

Population According to the Vanuatu census, 29,000 1 people live in all the communities of Tanna. The West Tanna Village Council advised that there are believed to be 99 Nakamals in West Tanna and that the general population of West Tanna is estimated at approximately 8,000 plus.

This assessment reached 638 households which accommodate 3,721 people across the communities of West Tanna. The average number of people per household is 5.8, with 50.8% of the population assessed being female and 49.2% male.

It was found that 2.5% of the people surveyed identified themselves as having a disability, the majority being females (1.3%). This figure is significantly lower that Vanuatu’s national average (5.1%)2 , and it is speculated as to whether people with a disability defined themselves as having a disability.

Water issues

According to the survey, the primary sources of drinking water for households are:

  • Collecting water from the gravity fed system (30.7%),

  • bore hole pumps (26.8%) and

  • From water tanks (23.5%).

However, there are secondary water sources where people collect water to use. These are in the main from either unprotected salt water springs (23%) or borehole pumps (16%).

Almost half (49.3%) of the households surveyed reported that their water levels have decreased, whilst 40.7% still have normal water levels. Almost 10% reported their water source had dried up.

29.7% of the total adult population surveyed (excluding babies & children) are employed (548 individuals). 267 households (41.8% of surveyed households) reported having no income.

The assessment also shows that everyone is responsible for collecting water in 82% of households which shows a strong distribution of tasks within the community. More than half of households surveyed spend only 5 minutes maximum to collect water while 30.9% find it very difficult, having to spend one hour or more to collect water.

Quite a small fraction of the population (20.1%), boil their water as a measure taken for treating water.

80.9% of households reported they have not been treating their water which is a potential health risk which should be addressed in recovery programs.

Health issues

The assessment shows that after the TC Pam, 42% of the surveyed households had family members who experienced diarrhoea and 31.5% had family members who experienced headaches. 35.9% of the assessed households stated they did not experience any illnesses after the cyclone. In 24.2% of surveyed households, families reported they experienced three or more illnesses after TC Pam.

50.6% of the assessed households believe that germs cause diarrhoea while 45.6% of households believe that the use of dirty water causes diarrhoea.

6.9% state that they don’t know what might be the cause of the illness.

72.1% of the households believed that effective hand washing is the hardest hygiene behaviour to change, although a high percentage of the total population (75.2%) believe that hand washing is a better way of preventing diarrhoea. 23.8% mentioned the use of clean drinking water as another hard hygiene behaviour to change.

It was indicated by 80% of the surveyed households, that they possess new mosquito nets. Within these households it was reported that 55.2% of adult females, 48.6% of adult males along with 45.5% of older children always use nets. It is noted that 21.3% of households surveyed stated they use mosquito nets for gardening and other purposes.

More than 600 households (96.4%) of those surveyed know where and how to access first aid kits and training, but it is significant that 548 of the households (85.9%) don’t possess a kit, nor have attended first aid training.

Sanitation issues 49.1% of households indicate that children’s waste is thrown into the toilets, 19.9% bury the waste and 8.5% of households throw the waste into the bush.

According to the observations and survey results of the assessments, the majority of the toilets used since TC Pam are in poor condition. Most of the toilets used after the cyclone were not hygienic or in sound condition and upon observation 50.2% of the toilets observed had bad odours with 6.6% having water on the floor and another 13.3% had signs of rats, flies and insects inside, with only 27.6% of those observed as being clean.

The assessment results show that around 61% of the households surveyed have bush toilets, with only a few having slabs (26.5%) and 7.4% of surveyed households having VIP toilets. Number of households having toilets suitable for disabled people = 44 74.5% of families have their toilets built next to their house with an average number of 7.5 people sharing one toilet. 27.1% of households have two families sharing the same toilet, with 13.2% having three or more additional families sharing the one toilet.

More than 59% of surveyed households use soap for all three applications of washing clothes, dishes and for showering with 95.3% of families using soap for washing clothes.
However 1.7% of the assessed households don’t use soap for any purpose.


After the cyclone, 24.8% of the household population reported that their roof (capa) was still attached to their house, whereas 15.4% had their capa roof destroyed or damaged.

Of those who needed to repair or replace their capa roof, 43.9% state they want to buy more capa while a large fraction of 56.1% do not want to purchase more capa. 59.6% of households assessed have Natangura roofing.

51.7% of surveyed households have completed rebuilding their houses whilst 31.7% are still repairing. Most households (71.3%) are rebuilding their houses on their own with family members assisting.
Of the households assessed, 93 (14.6%) indicated they are hosting members of their extended family post TC Pam.

However the surveyed households state that further assistance is still needed with 30.1% of households needing timber, 32.6% need tools, with nails and cyclone straps needed by 42.6% of households and 18.3% households require Natangura for roofing purposes.

Though many households indicated receiving materials, tools, technical advice and tarpaulins, 29.8%% reported not having received any assistance from elsewhere.

Of the assessed households, 78.7% indicate that their roof is one of the main parts of their house which they believe requires strengthening, whilst 57.8% believe their house walls require strengthening, and 36.8% believe that their house foundations need to be strengthened.

A large portion of the population have rebuilt on the same site (81.2%) whilst only 18.7% have rebuilt onto a different or new site.

Only 19.6% of household families are willing to remain in their houses during a disaster believing it to be safe, whilst 80.4% believe their house would be unsafe in a disaster.

More than 88% of the assessed households agreed they would like to be informed of the build back safer shelter techniques to help them to be more prepared for future disasters.

Disaster Preparedness

According to the assessment, 94.5% of households believe that cyclones are the biggest disaster threat, with volcanic eruptions second (48.7%) with 33.1 % identifying drought as a major hazard.

Only 6.7% of surveyed households believe they are prepared for future disasters whereas 50.9% have done nothing to prepare themselves, whilst 29.5% have also done nothing but are planning to do so in the coming months.

There is a very low level of knowledge regarding the community disaster plan, with assessment results indicating that only 10.5% have knowledge of the community disaster plan. 53.1% stated that they have no knowledge about the community disaster plan.

Many of the households (37%) believed that they are less able now to handle a disaster. Of this group of surveyed households, 18.8% reported this is due to the family being worse off financially. Another 15.2% of households stated that they were less able to cope because of losing their jobs leading to no income and another 12.2% reported having reduced earnings.