OVERVIEW OF THE SITUATION
Tropical Cyclone HAROLD continued moving south-east over the Coral Sea and made landfall over southwest coast of Espiritu Santo Island (north Vanuatu) on 6 April around 0.00 UTC, with maximum sustained winds up to 215 km/h. The media reported, hundreds of people preventively evacuated across Espiritu Santo. (ECHO, 6 Apr 2020).
The northern provinces of Sanma, Malampa and Penama are most affected. Due to its path across the centre of Vanuatu, TC Harold has directly impacted on a large number of populated islands and the large island of Santo with the country’s second largest city Luganville.
As of 8th April, the Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office estimates that up to 160,000 people may have been affected by the cyclone in the country.
The provinces of Sanma (53,344 people),
Penama (32,055 people), and Malampa (40,917 people) have been categorized as Priority 1 for assistance. The provinces of Torba (10,102 people) and Shepherds Group (23,056 people) have been categorized as Priority 2.
As well as the damages to homes, peoples livelihoods and the environment they live in, these islands were the ‘food belt’ of the nation.
The damages to crops have in many affected areas been catastrophic. Affecting the food security for the country as a whole.
Overall, it is estimated that a total of 160,000 people have been affected by the Cyclone and will require shelter, food, health and WASH assistance over the coming weeks and months, due to the extensive damage to infrastructure on the island.
The complicating factors of COVID-19 have meant that international responders have been unable to assist in country making the response entirely reliant on existing human and systems resources. While international relief items will be imported and required, it is critical to rapidly establish the in country logistics and procurement to support Government, NGO’s and Partners to rapidly distribute items.
The ECG hub will provide existing in-country partners with resources to establish Local Supplies Hub and Transport Hub to support our first responders. Additional complexities to the situation include that our supply partners in Australia and New Zealand are currently on lock down and reduced capacity to pick and pack and deliver goods for export.