TC Pam Recovery Assessment Report - Appendix C - VRCS's One Recovery plan - Informal Settlements: Efate

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- Assessments undertaken: 20th December 2015 – 12th January 2016
- Report completed: 26th January 2016

Key assessment findings

Analysis and reporting

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


According to the 2009 census, 760 people live in the 3 targeted areas. The assessments covered 321 people within 45 households. The average number of people per house is 7.1 with females making up 51.7% of the population and males 48.3%.

A fraction of 2.5% of all people assessed indicate having a disability, the majority being females (1.9%). This figure is significantly lower that Vanuatu’s average per population, and it is speculated as to whether people with a disability defined themselves as having a disability.

There is a high portion of single parents, being 10% of those assessed, or 27.6% of the adult population. More than half of the households surveyed (53.3%) had babies under 1 year old in the household.

Water issues

According to the survey, the two primary sources of drinking water are either from the gravity fed systems (64%) or from water tanks (55%), with 13% of assessed households obtaining water from un-protected wells.

Although gravity fed systems are said to have been treated, some people in these communities still boil their water as a measure taken to treat their water, with a high fraction of 55.6% of assessed households indicating they boil their drinking water.

Health issues

A large fraction of household respondents reported having suffered water related illnesses since TC Pam, diarrhoea being very prevalent (60% of assessed households), with 62.2% reporting headaches, and malaria occurrence were reported as affecting 22.2% of households assessed. There was also a very high rate in these communities of multiple illness, with 69% of the households indicating they suffered with two or more illnesses after TC Pam.

Large numbers of the households reported that they understand the causes and means of preventing diarrhoea, with 71% understanding the need to wash their hands regularly and 51% the need to be clean.

Regarding first aid precautions: 66.7% of the population do not possess a first aid kit; neither do they have any first aid training nor do they have knowledge of how to access these resources. However 26.7% of the households have at least one member trained and skilled with first aid.

The hardest hygiene behaviours to change were seen as the use of clean drinking water (51.1% of households) and hand washing practices (46.7% of households). The use of mosquito nets appears effective, with adult male, female and babies always using them in more than 40% of assessed households.

Sanitation issues

The toilets used after the cyclone were of temporary structure, therefore the conditions are not hygienic nor in sound condition. Damage to pre-existing latrines from TC Pam is still visible and it appears repairs have not been undertaken. It is noted that a significant fraction of the households have reported having no toilet (22.2%).

The most common type of toilet used by 24.4% of the households are flush toilets, with 8.9% using VIP toilets and 4.4% using slab toilets and others still using bush toilets (6.7%).

Though 50% of households have toilets next to their houses, 26.7% shows that 2 families are having to share the same toilet. One household from the 45 households indicated having 3 or more families using the same toilet.

The average number sharing the one toilet is 6.5 people.

Four households reported having a toilet which was suitable for use by disabled people.

There appears effective practices in the disposal of children’s waste with only 2.2% of the assessed households reporting disposing of children’s waste by throwing it in the bush.

In regards to hand washing, 24.4% of the households surveyed have no means of hand washing nearby their toilets.

There appear some practises of cleaning toilets, but the assessments showed that only 17.8% of the households clean their toilets once a week. More than half (53.3%) of households reported that they clean their toilets once (a year) which could be related to the high proportion of people suffering from multiple illnesses.

Toilets structures were seen to be very inadequate structures with weak hygiene conditions in terms of having significant odour, not being washed regularly, and which are exposed to having rats, flies and other insects in the toilets. 40% of the population wash their hands with soap after returning from the toilets.

Disaster preparedness issues

Whilst 51 % of the population report having a knowledge of a community disaster plan, the only engagement all households (100 %) have had, has been the provision of information.
None of the surveyed households indicated they had been involved in any disaster simulations or planning processes etc.

Within the context of small to significant disasters it is notable that none (0%) of the assessed households reported having had any participation or training in first aid in the past year.

The assessed households identified drought and cyclones (76% and 58% respectively) as the hazards the community is most vulnerable to. Interestingly the informal settlements are often within poorly drained and/or low lying locations, but there were no concerns expressed about potential floods. It is assumed those who responded to volcanoes, come from islands where they and their families may return to, and know the risks in that location. No active volcanoes are present near the informal settlements.

Half (51%) of the assessed households stated they have not done anything as a family to prepare for disasters.

But correspondingly 64% of households reported they believe they are now more able to deal with a disaster.

Most (69%) believe they have knowledge of where they should go in the case of an evacuation warning.

Livelihoods issues

The number of people with employment in the assessed households was 73, or 38.4% of all adults (not including babies & children).

The assessment data shows income levels in these three informal settlements to be significantly lower than the national average. 66.7% of households surveyed reported a weekly income of less than 5000vt, equating to a monthly income of around 20,000vt ($250 AUD). This figure falls far short of the average monthly household income of 83,800vt ($1,050 AUD)1. With a mean of 7.1 people per household, this also suggests that many of the people residing in informal settlements are living below the basic needs poverty line (2,866vt/person/week or $36 AUD/person/week).

Half (51%) of the households derive their main income from formal salaries or wages, however only 38.4% of adults are employed. This suggests that many households are relying mostly on the income of only one family member to support the entire family. The data does show that in most households, more than one family member contributes income, however given the generally low level of overall income, these secondary contributions do not appear to be significant. In 71.1% of assessed households, the main income earner was the father or male head of household.

Of the households surveyed, 35% reported a decrease in their income following TC Pam. The main reasons cited were damage to infrastructure and agriculture plots.